LEWISTON—A LifeFlight of Maine nurse was recently awarded a nine-month Fulbright Scholarship in Finland to collaborate with regional educators and help improve rural medical education.
Brad Boehringer, flight nurse based with the helicopter at Central Maine Medical Center, has been a pre-hospital provider for sixteen years. He spent time teaching for SOLO, a wilderness medicine school based in Conway, NH, and there developed his passion for education and continued clinical experiences. This led him to a degree in nursing and eventually to positions in the emergency departments at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Maine Medical Center in Portland. He joined the LifeFlight team in 2011 and recently completed his Master’s degree in Nursing Education from Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA.
According to the Fulbright Scholarship announcement, “Brad will collaborate with Laurea University of Applied Sciences in Finland to establish and implement a mobile nursing simulation center for rural areas of Finland.”
Many of those who know Brad realize this scholarship opportunity is something he has worked toward for many years. His coworkers would likely credit his tenacity and dedication to both medical care and education as a natural fit for a Fulbright Scholarship in Finland.
“The Fulbright program is a really exciting way to explore another culture from the inside,” shared Boehringer. “One of the primary goals is cultural exchange between nations. Your proposed project in country allows you to focus on your field of experience or interest. In my case, that’s using technology to further nursing education.”
Brad’s opportunity means he’ll take leave from LifeFlight of Maine from the middle of August through June of 2015.
“This is an absolutely huge and well-deserved honor for Brad and is great for LifeFlight,” said Thomas Judge, LifeFlight of Maine’s Executive Director. “It is particularly heartwarming to see that his project will be in Finland which historically has had a close connection to the coast of Maine. We all look forward to Brad’s return and what we can learn in the way of strategies to improve healthcare in rural and remote communities.”
According to the Fulbright scholarship statistics, approximately 46 applications were received for Finland and less than half are projected to be awarded a scholarship for the 2014-2015 cycle.
Brad’s ongoing passion for outdoor expeditions and international travel has led him to hike the Appalachian Trail, work for the Hurricane Outward Bound School in Maine, volunteer at a clinic in the Dominican Republic and even guide high-altitude expeditions through Field Touring Alpine in Nepal, Ecuador and around the world.
On this adventure, Brad will be joined by his wife Katherine Scott, with whom he recently tied the knot.
“Katy and I will be living in the greater Helsinki region and are hoping to travel to Lapland to see the aurora borealis,” Boehringer said. “We would appreciate any donation of a vitamin D light for the winter of darkness that we will embrace as I believe that there are about four hours of daylight in the winter. We are excited to learn how to curl (seriously) and shoot some biathlon as well!”
LifeFlight of Maine is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit air medical and critical care transport organization overseen by 21 physicians. LifeFlight helicopters, flying at 165 miles per hour, bring lifesaving critical care staff and equipment directly to the patient. It also provides advanced training to Maine’s hospitals, emergency medical services (EMS) and public safety agencies. Since its inception in 1998, LifeFlight has transported more than 16,000 patients from every hospital and nearly all of Maine’s communities and islands.