Stepping In When Needed

Two ACMH nurses reflect on what it really means to be a nurse.

Laura Overly, R.N., ACMH Hospital critical care nurse, and Tabitha Bowser, R.N, ACMH Hospital Case Manager and former ER nurse, shared an emotional reunion with Greg Woodman, 65, of State College, PA, who they assisted by administering life-saving Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) after his heart stopped beating during a Half Marathon in Erie, PA.

Laura and Tabitha joined Greg and his wife Anita several weeks after the incident to celebrate his recovery. They were also joined at the reunion by an ER nurse from UPMC Hamot who also assisted in administering CPR on the day of the marathon along with several other helpful participants. 

“Everything happens for a reason,” stated Laura, reflecting on the incident. “And I am glad that we were in the right place at the right time.”

At the reunion, emotions ranged from somber reflection to extreme joy and elation.

Laura and Tabitha often cross paths at race events, but the half marathon in Erie on July 16th is one that they will never forget. 

“Laura and I are forever bonded through this experience” said Bowser as the women reflected on their experience that day.

“When I approached Laura, I just knew without either of us saying a thing, that I should jump in and take over.” Tabitha continued. “It says something about being a nurse, we just know!”

Both nurses continued to administer CPR with a team of other bystanders who were also trained in CPR.

Laura joins Tabitha in expressing the importance of everyone learning CPR. “When you see someone in need, why wouldn't you step in?” Laura stated. “Knowing CPR can mean the difference between life and death.”

“It can be scary to be the person to first initiate CPR,” added Overly. “But the benefit of a positive outcome outweighs what could happen if you didn't intervene. The worst that could happen is that they wake up and say 'stop!'”

“Performing these kind of duties is my job when I am at the hospital,” said Bowser. “But this was different. This intervention was the most rewarding of my career, and I am so happy for Greg and his family.”

“CPR has been proven to save lives.” Bowser continued. “And it is not just a nursing or medical skill, it is something that anyone can learn, everyone should learn. Laura and I are making it our mission to increase awareness and link individuals to opportunities to learn CPR.”

“It could be any one of us in need some day.” Stated Overly. “If it were my father, my mom, my daughter… I would want someone to do what I did, what we all did.”

“It's important to learn CPR,” Bowser added. “Just ask Greg!”

The women also spoke of encouraging young students to consider a career in nursing. “Once you're a nurse, you're always a nurse,” stated Overly. “It is the most rewarding decision I have made.”

ACMH congratulates and honors all nurses for their dedication and service to keeping our communities safe and healthy… no matter where - or when.

Tabitha and Laura join ACMH Hospital in encouraging others to learn CPR. They have filmed a series of video awareness messages that will be shared with the community online through ACMH channels.

The duo are also teaming up with the Kittanning Rotary and Armstrong Rails to Trails to host a 5K race in Kittanning named ‘Run for your Life!’ The event is planned to take place on October 28th, and proceeds will go to teaching valuable CPR skills to the community.


You can also help to spread the word on HANDS ONLY CPR by visiting the ACMH Hospital YOUTUBE or FACEBOOK pages to share messages and videos online.

You can read more about this story here: A Second Chance at Life: Erie Nurse Saves Runner During Presque - Erie News Now | WICU and WSEE in Erie, PA