Kelley Holdren, RN, BSN, CFRN
Why did you become a transport nurse? I have always wanted to be a nurse, something with critical care, fast paced. When I was in 6th grade I read a local magazine that highlighted the local flight program there in the 80’s (UCAN) and immediately knew that was what I wanted to do after graduation of nursing school.
What is it about your job that you enjoy? I absolutely love how we make a difference in someone’s life on what could possibly be their worst day. I also love the unpredictability of the job, the fast paced environment with the ability to constantly assess and make interventions that help stabilize or improve our patients.
How did you become a flight nurse? After graduation from nursing school, I held out for a position at the University of Chicago Hospitals, knowing full well they had their own transport team. Once hired in the medical unit, I quickly found the then chief flight nurse, told her I wanted to join them some day and she guided me on the best path of experience to obtain for the position. I stuck to it and after 6 years of working in the various adult and pediatric ICUs, I applied for an open position (as I went in to the L & D unit to have my first child).
What do you enjoy in your free time? I enjoy reading in a quiet spot/preferably by a body of water! But mostly I enjoy my two children who are both competitive dancers. We attend a great deal of competitions and practices!
Fun fact about you? I volunteer my time and I am the Medical Liaison for the Northwest Indiana Down Syndrome Association. Here I help provide education to local nurseries and hospitals on how they can connect with families and patients, provide support and opportunities.
Why did you become an ASTNA member? Initially I joined for the member discounts. Once I became a member and had the opportunity to learn more, the networking through ASTNA has provided invaluable as well as the CEs/education. I really enjoy being part of a professional organization that supports transport nurses and has our best interest in mind as a whole.
Can you share a time when you felt especially proud to work as a flight nurse? Based at the university, I am lucky to be able to follow up with my patients. Having those connections with patients and family is one of the most rewarding aspects of my profession-knowing I made a difference in someone’s life, even if it was just emotional support and strength.
Describe the ideal partner/flight crew member. I am very lucky to work with a relatively small team, with very little turn over. That in turn with respectful communications allows me to often work with someone who essentially can read my mind. Having good communication and respectful communications, even when conversations are difficult, is paramount to a good healthy work relationship.
Do you have a patient / transport that you feel changed/impacted how you care for your patients today? Can you relay that story? Most of the ones that have impacted me the most are transports that have to do with children. Being a parent myself, I connect to the families and many have changed my life. I still talk to many parents and children (who are no longer children). Too many to share!