UNICO honors nursing student


Stefanie DeSimone has gained recognition for an act of heroism she did last summer in which she helped save a man’s life on a plane. DeSimone was traveling home from Italy with her cousin when a man suddenly collapsed in the aisle without a pulse to be detected.

Using basic instincts, quick thinking and skills learned in the Seton Hall nursing program, DeSimone was able to rise to the occasion and help stabilize the man, along with her cousin and three other healthcare professionals.

At the men’s basketball game on Feb. 7, she was presented with a $2,500 scholarship from UNICO, an Italian American service and charity organization.

DeSimone, 28, is a second degree student in her second year with the Seton Hall University College of Nursing. Her background is a B.S. degree in biology and math from the College of St. Elizabeth.

According to DeSimone, the nursing program here at SHU equipped her with the skills necessary to handle the situation in the way that she did.

“The program definitely helped gear me to what the best course of action was, considering what little supplies we had,” she said.

Since the plane had limited supplies, they were forced to be resourceful.

“It was truly a creative endeavor. We had to make do with what we had,” she said, something she allegedly learned from one of her nursing professors.

“The best thing to do is to your follow your gut. It helps direct you,” she said.

She also suggested that everyone take a CPR course. “It’s something basic that everyone can do, even without a biology or medical background,” she said.

DeSimone describes her experience last summer as something surreal. Rather than making a definitive decision to help the man, she acted mostly out of impulse and intuition.

As to how she knew what to do in the moment, she said, “You just know. Your intuition kicks in.” She added, “I saw this guy laying on the ground and thought, ‘I’m just a nursing student but I know some things.’”

Overall, DeSimone is overjoyed and humbled by the feedback she has received from the Seton Hall community.

“You don’t think about it at first, but to think that other people can look up to you is really humbling,” she added.

Regardless, DeSimone said she does not see herself as a hero. Rather, she feels she was just doing her doing her job.

“It’s what I was trained to do, to help whenever I can,” said DeSimone.

Rachel O’Connor can be reached at rachel.oconnor@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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