Critical Care: Kelly Grayson

3M™ Littmann® CORE Digital Stethoscope 8870 and white coat

Kelly Grayson has been a Critical Care Paramedic with Acadian Ambulance in southwest Louisiana for 30 years. As his profession evolves, his passion for providing care remains constant.

“I actually stumbled into EMS,” Kelly recalls. “I wanted to enter a nursing program at the local community college but there was an 18-month waiting list. The administrator recommended I sign up for an EMT course.”

And the rest, as they say, is history.

When asked what he loves most about being a paramedic, Kelly answers: “the autonomy.” He uses his own judgement and discretion when treating a patient and sees the limited-resource environments he walks into as a welcome challenge. Another aspect he loves? The novelty.
“It’s like that line from Forest Gump. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

Turning to a trusted instrument

While it’s true that Kelly often makes do without the tools and technologies readily available at a medical facility, his trusty stethoscope is always on hand.

“For pre-hospital providers with few resources, the stethoscope helps gather critical information, and is the talisman of a being a medical person. Just the act of auscultating someone’s chest can bring calm and comfort.”

But the act of auscultating isn’t always so easy for an EMT. “When I get to the emergency room, sometimes the nurse will ask ‘how are the bowel sounds?’ and for a long time I would joke, ‘the bowel sounds are diesel engines and sirens and generators.’”

These days, however, Kelly uses a 3M™ Littmann® CORE Digital Stethoscope, which he credits for blocking out the ambient noise that is a hallmark of emergency care. “The soft eartips and noise cancelation feature help with the ambient noise. I’m more confident now that what I’m hearing is coming from the patient and not everywhere else. ”

Sharing his passion

With a storied career behind him and no plans to end it any time soon, Kelly is paying it forward as an EMS educator – helping students who, like him, aspire to make someone’s bad day better.

“Saving a life is a rare thing,” Kelly notes, “but you get the opportunity to make a difference every day. We tackle thorny problems without a great deal of support.”

When asked what advice he would give those just starting out, Kelly says “Realize that you just got your learner’s permit and that you need to surround yourself with good mentors. Get a good stethoscope and learn how to use it.”

He adds: “and be sure to get your name engraved on it.”

iThe 3M™ Littmann® CORE Digital Stethoscope has not yet been tested in all medical environments.

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