A nonprofit dedicated to flight nurses will name a scholarship after a Stacie Morse, a flight nurse killed in a Guardian Flight crash near Kake last year.
“It’s wonderful and it’s definitely something that she would have loved for her legacy. She was a go-getter and an educational advocate,” Susan Morse Delucia, Morse’s aunt, said in a phone interview Tuesday. “She was always trying to better her skills. There was no status quo.”
Morse, 30, and her unborn daughter, Delta Rae, were killed along with pilot Patrick Coyle, 63, and flight paramedic Margaret Langston, 43, in the fatal crash from Anchorage to Kake on Jan. 29. Now, Every Coast Helicopter Operations, a nonprofit that supports airborne EMS flights and operations, has created the Stacie Morse Education Scholarship for beginning nurses or nurses looking to specialize in the demanding profession of being a flight nurse.
“She was the first female member to be killed in the line of duty,” Mary Beth Wiedemann, a member of ECHO’s Flightcrew Assistance Support Team, said in a phone interview. “If you want to be a flight nurse, she was what you should be like. She really embodied the profession.”
Originally from Washington, Morse lived in Juneau and worked at Bartlett Regional Hospital when not on-shift with Guardian, Delucia said. She was an avid outdoorsman, Delucia said; a fisher, hunter and snowmachiner.
“We just wanted to make sure it goes to someone who has her mentality,” Delucia said. “Someone who can dedicate themselves to a remote area where there’s hardly any access to care.”
The scholarship will be a yearly one, Wiedemann said. To be eligible to apply, one must be a woman 18 or older either studying to become a registered nurse, or a one who’s already a registered nurse, looking to specialize in being a flight nurse like Morse.
“She loved where she was living, she loved what she was doing, she loved the people that she was taking care of,” Wiedemann said, speaking about Morse. “She was able to look at a person as a whole and take their needs into account.”
The scholarship also includes a trip to ECHO’s yearly industry conferences, Wiedemann said. With that conference, scholarship recipients are guaranteed a seat in ECHO’s underwater egress training — how to escape from a crashed, submerged aircraft.
“It comes with a trip to the annual ECHO critical care conference,” Wiedemann said. “To be a member of ECHO, you have to be a flight crew member. So they get an honorary membership.”
The scholarship also guarantees the winner a seat in the organization’s Future Flight Crew member, when they’re ready. The Future Flight Crew links participants with mentors to help them gain entry and succeed within the flight nurse profession. Becoming a flight nurse typically requires years of experience in critical care or emergency room environments, as well as a number of specialist certifications, before applying, Wiedemann said.
“She focused on the patient. When people spoke out about her, that’s something that she said. She always put the patient first,” Delucia said. “You don’t run across people like her very often. There was something special, and she had it.”
ECHO also has a team for helping airborne medevac programs respond to a crash within their organization, Wiedemann said, known as the Flightcrew Assistance Support Team.
“They teach you to take care of patients, but they don’t teach you what to do if your program has a crash,” Wiedemann said. “We have a team that will deploy to programs that have had a crash, fatal or nonfatal.”
Wiedemann, who is a part of the all-volunteer FAST, said that they try to be deployed within 24 hours for a crash.
“Police take good care of themselves. Fire takes good care of themselves. EMS, not so much,” Wiedemann said. “You can’t take care of yourself if you’re wounded.”
Thinking of applying?
The Stacie Morse Education Scholarship application is available on the ECHO website. Applications will be accepted till Feb. 29, Wiedemann said, and the scholarship will be awarded in May.
• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or email@example.com.