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Betsy Osborn

School of Nursing alumna

Betsy Osborn, a native of Moulton, Ala., obtained her bachelor's degree from Auburn's School of Nursing in 2009. During her time here, she was involved with the college ministry at First Baptist Church Opelika and traveled to Ecuador with the School of Nursing. Last week on her flight home from the 2014 BCS National Championship game, Osborn used the life-saving knowledge she gained from the School of Nursing and administered CPR to an Florida State University fan suffering from a heart attack mid-flight.

Osborn currently lives in Huntsville with her husband and works in the cardiac unit of Huntsville Hospital as a registered nurse. She recently finished nurse practitioner school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and teaches Sunday school at Willowbrook Baptist Church.

1. What made you want to become a nurse?

I think it came from both of my parents - they are both nurses! I grew up in the environment of their both having the desire to help and take care of people. They in turn instilled that desire in me, which led me to want to have that as a career.

2. Can you describe the situation on the airplane?

I was actually asleep when it began. We left the game at midnight and woke up at 3 a.m. for the flight. I was in the very back of the plane with my husband and I heard a rustling. My husband asked if anyone needed help and told them that I was a nurse.

The guy needing help was conscious at that time, but he was pale not feeling well. The pilot came over the intercom and asked if any medical professionals on the plane could head to the back of the plane to assist me. I began to check his vitals and by that time a doctor came from first class and we began talking. He said he looked dehydrated and we might need to give him fluids. This happened in about 10 minutes, and then the pilot called over and asked if he needed to land the plane. We were an hour away from Dallas, and the doctor told the pilot that to be safe we should land the plane. The doctor then left and told me to stay with him.

We were about to descend and I was sitting in a chair and the guy was on the floor. I looked down and he wasn't breathing, so I got down on my knees and started doing compressions as the flight attendant got the defibrillator while the plane was landing. He lost consciousness for about 30 seconds, came to, and then he went back out on me. I got another pulse after a little longer, and then we were landed and the paramedics took him off the plane.

3. How did your knowledge gained from the School of Nursing help you in your decision-making?

I believe that Auburn really prepared us to work in the real world. They made sure that we did clinicals in every situation and every different environment. I believe they also prepared us to be ready for any kind of situation and pushed us to further our careers into different environments so we could learn more about nursing. They really prepared us to work in any situation.

4. Have you ever been in a situation like this before? Do you feel compelled to help when you see these types of situations?

As a nurse we take an oath to help if needed and I do feel an obligation, but I don't want to overstep my boundaries. I've never been in this type of situation outside of a hospital, but I knew he needed some help and I wanted to be there for him. I do feel it's our duty to help if someone's in need.

5. What is your favorite Auburn memory?

My first big SEC football game, because my husband is a huge football fan and loves everything about Auburn. It was the Florida game in 2006 and it was a huge game. Everything was so loud and everyone was excited! That was the first time I had felt an atmosphere like that and it made me fall in love with Auburn, and really feel the love of football and everything about gameday.

Jan. 13, 2014