Inducted: November 5, 2016
When Tom Grubbs retired from Vanderbilt LIfeFlight in December 2015, as its longest serving flight nurse, he had flown what is believed to be a record, nearly 6,000 patient flights since joining the airborne emergency medical team 31 years earlier.
Grubbs joined the LIfeFlight program soon after it began in July 1984 when flight nursing was a new field for civilian nurses. He earned his Tennessee Certified Paramedic in 1975 at UT Nashville, an Associate of Science Degree in Nursing from Belmont University in 1980, and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from the University of Alabama/Huntsville in 1990 and a Masters in Nursing from Norwich in 2015. Tom has Certifications as a Certified Flight Registered Nurse, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, Neonatal Resuscitation Program Provider. He is a licensed Registered Nurse in Tennessee and Alabama, a licensed Paramedic in Tennessee, and a National EMT. He has authored many articles in professional publications: the Journal of Air Medical Transport, the Air Medical Journal, JEMS and past Vanderbilt LIfeFlight Quarterly Newsletters.
When Tom joined Vandy’s LIfeFlight operation in 1984 there were five other flight nurses and a single helicopter. Today there are more than 60 flight nurses, six helicopters, a fixed-wing air ambulance and four ground ambulances. Vanderbilt serves Middle and West Tennessee as the regions only Level One trauma center and there are an estimated thirty-two airborne EMT units in Tennessee.
Grubbs career has been one of constant emergencies, never knowing what was ahead at every flight. He spends time with people during their worst moments in life. His professional expertise and calm human touch have saved countless lives. Tom is a whatever it takes kind of care-giver who says, “I never lift off the ground unless I am praying for that patient I am going to get”.