Nurse Flies High In Star Wars Universe
August 21, 2017
When he’s working, he’s in the sky – flying to the aid of those in need. In his spare time, Mike Boone, 32, is traversing the universe, in a fictional role that takes him to a galaxy far, far away.
After working as an LPN on multiple medical/surgical units including telemetry, orthopedics and oncology, Boone obtained his RN and moved into adult critical care where he gained experience in multi-disciplinary settings including general medical, neurological, cardiovascular and surgical intensive care. The experience was the groundwork he needed to head to the skies as a LifeLine Flight Nurse.
“I wanted to be a Flight Nurse before I ever went to nursing school. I was originally interested in pursuing a career in graphic design and cinematography. In high school, I acquired an internship with a graphics production company where I was later offered a job. At the same time, my best friend and I were running our own production company where we filmed and edited wedding videos,” said Boone, who has been married to his wife Anna for almost 3 years. They are the parents of 2-year-old, Julian and are expecting their second child in January. “I quickly tired of what I was doing and began looking for a career change.” That was when Boone’s older brother, Bryan, also a LifeLine Flight Nurse, introduced him to his career.
“From that point onward, I was hooked. Every professional decision after that was made with the intention of becoming a Flight Nurse,” said Boone.
It was his oldest brother Keith who introduced Boone to Star Wars.
Born a year after Return of the Jedi was released, Boone received his big brother’s coveted collection of Star War figures and after watching the movies he became enthralled with the mythical universe beyond. As he grew older, he became acquainted with the 501st Legion, an international fan-based group dedicated to creating and wearing costumes of Star Wars characters. Portraying Boba Fett, Boone is one of some 10,000 people worldwide who volunteers to entertain others with his costume.
“Darth Vader has always been one of my favorite villains, but I felt that I did not have the right body type to do him justice,” said Boone. So he chose Boba Fett and later learned that it was one of the toughest costumes to be approved for authenticity.
Like his job, Boone said he’s always up for a challenge and he loves the reaction and interaction with others. His Star Wars character has taken him to meet the mayor, throw the first pitch at an Indian’s baseball game, walk on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway track, perform in a safety video for the Indiana State Museum, and participate in numerous media events. But the most rewarding appearances have been in the hospital, said Boone.
“Just like working for Lifeline, being able to take something you enjoy and use it as a tool to help others is one of the best things life has to offer. As geeky as an adult dressing up as a Star Wars character may seem to some, making a child smile, especially an ill one, makes it all worth it. Some of the younger kids don’t always know how to react to my “scary” helmet, but we have a lot fun, nonetheless, “ said Boone, who joins his brother Bryan in creating original podcasts – “Heavy Lies the Helmet” - about their jobs as Lifeline nurse.
“With Lifeline, I am able to exercise my knowledge in an autonomous environment alongside a small group of extremely professional care providers,” said Boone. “I enjoy a challenge, and critical care transport is full of challenges. Whether environmental or patient related, we have to rely heavily on each other to make sure that our crew and our patients arrive at their destination safely. That naturally builds a large amount of trust, respect, and camaraderie among our staff members. Through thick and thin, we adapt and overcome as a team. Being able to critically think, make a clinical judgment, and see your patient’s status improve is very satisfying. It also helps that I get to do all of this inside of a helicopter, and flying is just plain awesome.”
-- By T.J. Banes, Associate Senior Journalist at IU Health.
Reach Banes via email at T.J. Banes or on Twitter @tjbanes.