FAIRFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) — A nursing student from Sacred Heart University in Connecticut submitted a paper on the importance of training the public in CPR before leaving for spring break. Just 12 hours later, she was administering CPR at an airport to help save a man’s life.

Senior nursing major Natalie Davies was waiting for her flight at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, where she was set to head to New Orleans to begin her spring break trip, when she heard someone scream.

SHU school officials said Davies saw a man lying on the ground, and her instincts took over. Along with another passenger, whom she later learned was a cardiologist, Davies began to respond to the unconscious man.

“With my clinical experience, plus my work in the emergency room at Yale New Haven Hospital, I just reacted,” Davies said.

Davies and the cardiologist couldn’t find a pulse, so she began cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) compressions. Someone nearby brought the pair an automated external defibrillator (AED), and the cardiologist administered the shock, but a pulse was still not found.

After three more rounds of CPR compressions and AED administration, the man’s pulse returned.

SHU officials said when emergency medical services arrived, the man was awake and talking.

Davies expressed her gratitude that the AED was so easily accessible.

“It was the first time I felt like a real nurse,” Davies continued. “I didn’t think; I just knew what to do and concentrated on the patient. I wasn’t even aware people were watching until after EMS arrived.”

Heather Ferrillo, the undergraduate nursing program chair for the Dr. Susan L. Davis, R.N., & Richard J. Henley College of Nursing (DHCON), applauded Davies’ quick turn to action.

“Natalie exemplifies what it means to be a SHU nursing student,” Ferrillo said. “She put into practice what she has learned over the last four years and didn’t hesitate to share her knowledge and skills in an unexpected situation.”

Davies is set to graduate this year. She accepted a job as a critical care registered nurse at Yale New Haven’s Emergency Department, which she will begin after graduation.