Tampa General Hospital's chief flight nurse saves lives in the skies

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She doesn’t wear a cape, but Kathy Koch is definitely a superhero. The Tampa General Hospital Aeromed nurse flies a thousand feet up in the sky to help people. 

“I love my job. This is an amazing environment to work in every day," Kathy explained. "[The helicopter] translates to a flying ambulance, advanced life support unit as well as an intensive care unit."

Kathy is Tampa General Hospital’s chief flight nurse. Her tenure at TGH began in 1992. She started working in the critical care unit, then the trauma resuscitation area of the emergency room.

“It’s definitely exhilarating. Most of us that do this job really are type-A personalities. We just love that emergency environment,” said Kathy.  

Working well under pressure is definitely her forte, but it takes a certain kind of person to be a part of the Aeromed team. It’s a position her supervisor at the time thought would be a perfect fit. 

“He just said I seemed to be pretty strong-willed and feisty in the trauma bay and asked me if I ever thought about flying,” said Kathy.

Now, 23 years later, she is still saving lives in the sky.

“Anytime you can make a positive impact on a patient and their family and give them a chance to come out on the other side of a critical illness or life changing accident, that's something you can take with you forever,” said Kathy.

She has made many memories over the last two decades. Kathy has transported more than 1,000 critical care patients. However, her job does not end there. For Kathy, it's about more than the care she provides, it's about giving her patients the compassion they deserve. 

“It’s really important to check in on them and let them know we care about how they’re doing. We touch base with their family and see if they need anything,” said Kathy. “It's a great way to be connected.”

While not everyone is cut out for her job, Kathy said we all have the potential for success. All it takes is a hard work ethic and a positive attitude. 

“If you bring that to anything you do every day, along with finding a career path that you love, it will never be work that way,” she added.