Local nurse joins elite group of certified nurses; a rare feat

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NEW MARTINSVILLE, W.Va. (WTRF) – The front lines are filled with nurses who we call heroes. They’re saving lives during the toughest times. Their medical knowledge goes way beyond the average person, which is one reason why they’re featured in many of our WTRF Highlighted Heroes. But one of those hero’s medical knowledge ranks him among 33 in the world. And he has no intentions of stopping there.

Mike Hughes started working for Air Evac Lifeteam in Wetzel County in 2015. And in just five years, he has accomplished a feat that is nearly unheard of. He has all five prestigious board certifications for emergency nursing, making him one of 33 in the world—something he describes as humbling.

Uh, yeah. Sort of. Interestingly enough I just want to pursue more. I want to do more so I can be a better nurse and do more to help my patients.

(MICHAEL HUGHES – FLIGHT NURSE, AIR EVAC 78

And this passion for knowledge manifested after just a few flights. It started with his CEN in 2016, then his CFRN, CPEN, CTRN, and TCRN all in the next four years.

I realized there’s gaps and voids in other areas of my knowledge like trauma, pediatric dosing, and flight physiology. And I thought if I pursue more certifications and more education, I can better treat my patient.

MICHAEL HUGHES – FLIGHT NURSE, AIR EVAC 78

He says the tests were adaptive and put his critical thinking knowledge to the test. But he describes passing as only the beginning. He must be ready to use that knowledge in the high pace, trauma ridden environment.

So, you can memorize protocols and you can memorize procedures, but what we really want to do in the aircraft is critically think and troubleshoot situations that come up. So, having that broad knowledge in different areas and the critical thinking component really helps manage your patients better.

MICHAEL HUGHES – FLIGHT NURSE, AIR EVAC 78

And if you think finding the time to accomplish this while working a full-time job is hard… get this. Mike has two middle schoolers, works in the ER at Reynolds memorial, volunteers for two fire departments, and operates a farm. His incredible dedication to his patients was something his former partner and now director quickly noticed.

We’d go in and have a difficult patient transport, and Mike always wanted to know more. He wanted to know how to get better and what he could work with, and what he could learn. So, he just had that thirst right from the beginning, to be the very best he could.

MIKE CONNERS – PROGRAM DIRECTOR, AIR EVAC 78

Although Mike has all five emergency nursing certifications, he says there’s always opportunities to learn more. In fact—he says the COVID-19 pandemic has him looking into Communicable Disease as his next certification, and he expects more virus training to transpire from this pandemic.

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