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Local News

April 15, 2010

Mercy One: New EMS helicopter

Centerville native Jeff Sisul talks about his experience as a flight nurse aboard the new EMS helicopter.

CENTERVILLE — Mercy One, the Des Moines Mercy air ambulance, recently visited the Centerville hospital for a viewing by hospital personnel. Traveling with the helicopter was Jeff Sisul, RN/paramedic specialist, who is a flight nurse with the service and a native of Centerville.

Sisul recently said that his experiences as a flight nurse have been challenging and rewarding. He described every flight as a unique experience that requires critical thinking and decisions so that the most appropriate care can be given to the patient.

“The transition from my other roles as an emergency department nurse and ground transport nurse to that of a flight nurse has been a great learning experience. Not only are the patients we fly some of the sickest patients, but in the aero medical environment I now have to be aware of safety issues related to flying and become used to providing care in a different setting, ” he stated.

Sisul described a typical day at Mercy One could include a trauma scene flight, a Level One heart attack patient to a beautiful newborn transported with the help of the neonatal intensive care unit transport team. 

“I have learned that experience is one of the best teachers, and the seasoned staff at Mercy One are great to work with and learn from,” he said.

Sisul began his career at the Centerville hospital as an EMT and continued on to complete his bachelor’s of nursing at Clark College in Dubuque. He continues to work at the Centerville hospital on a casual basis and also works for the Pella and Oskaloosa hospitals.

Sisul described the new air ambulance as the world’s first Bell 429 EMS helicopter, and also Iowa’s fastest EMS helicopter with an average cruise speed of 180 mph. 

“What makes Mercy One unique is the spacious cabin with a two patient capability.  It also has the ability to carry a patient and family member. Other features include night vision optics, a terrain advanced warning system and real-time satellite weather,” he added.

Sisul is the son of Mike and Dorothy Sisul of Centerville.

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