On the way to visit her family in Florida on an October day, Regina Angeletti, RN, was in for a plane ride she will never forget. A nervous flyer, she boarded her plane, and prepared herself for the approximately 3-hour flight from New Jersey to Miami.
The flight took off without much ado, but after some time in the air, Regina heard a flight attendant ask, “Are there any medical professionals on-board?” When the flight attendant approached her seat, Regina asked, “Has anyone responded to your call? I am a nurse. Is there something I can do to help?”
The flight attendant explained to Regina that a woman on board with a fear of flying is having anxiety and needs medical attention. After speaking with the panicked passenger and observing her behavior Regina quickly recognizes that this was not a simple case of nervousness. “She was having full blown episode,” Regina stated. “She was pacing the aisle and I gentley grabbed hold of her to calm her down.” Her goal was to prevent the woman from causing harm to herself or the other passengers and flight crew.
While the flight crew got in touch with the woman’s family her doctor was contacted, and the pilot spoke with him to explain the situation. Regina and the doctor spoke, and he confirmed that his patient may take some Benadryl to help her calm down, which Regina then administered. She then asked the gentleman that was sitting next to her if he would kindly switch seats so she may remain seated with the woman for the remainder of the plan ride. The gentleman agreed and Regina stayed by the woman’s side. When the plane landed, Regina escorted her to the paramedics so she can provide a “patient hand off," giving them the appropriate information from the day’s events.
“Regina displays this type of courage at every shift,” said Bryant Johnson, director of Progressive Care and Intensive Care at Mountainside Medical Center. “We receive many wonderful compliments about Regina from patients, their loved ones, our medical staff and her colleagues alike. In fact, Regina has been a recipient of the hospital’s Nurse Excellence Award - an award that she is well deserving of.”
Shortly after the incident, Mountainside Medical Center’s marketing team received the following email from airline crew member, Meghan:
Today, Regina professionally and graciously assisted my inflight crew on a flight from EWR to MIA. Our crew truly appreciates her volunteering her time, care and knowledge. She was nurturing, confident and skilled. We were fortunate today to have Regina onboard. This is my first connection with Hackensack Meridian and because of Regina my first impression is as good as they get.
“We are proud of the way Regina handled a challenging situation,” said CEO Tim O’Brien. “Receiving the letter from a member of the airline team reminds us of our mission; To care for our patients, our community and one another. Regina’s action inspires us to live that mission in and out of our four hospital walls every day.”