Catherine E. Wildenberg, MSN, RN
While studying for her MSN degree in health leadership at Penn Nursing, Catherine Wildenberg was invited to lecture on health equity to a class of first-year accelerated undergraduate students. As she reviewed concepts ranging from social determinants of health to the value of storytelling in community settings, something clicked. This former public health nurse who specialized in post-partum, home care visits realized that she loved teaching.
Ms. Wildenberg immediately decided to pursue a certificate in nursing education at Penn Nursing while completing her master’s degree. She has been teaching and advising students at Penn Nursing, including in the program where she was once a student, ever since, working to inspire others to succeed at nursing.
“The connections students develop at Penn are unique. The person sitting next to you may be the person you get your next job from or the next person you hire.”
- MSN, University of Pennsylvania, 2015
- BSN, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2006
Through her many interactions with students, Ms. Wildenberg helps create communities in the classroom. Her own experiences as a student and adult learner taught her to recognize the value of not only lecturing but also listening to every student and learning from their life experiences. In her classroom, she works to make sure students have the opportunity to learn from each other and that all students have a voice.
As a guest content expert in “Nursing in the Community” (NURS 380), Ms. Wildenberg stays connected with her background as a public health nurse in the school’s Simulation Laboratory, Here, she teaches a post-partum, home-visit simulation, which reflects what Ms. Wildenberg did every day as a public health nurse visiting post-partum mothers at home. Ms. Wildenberg also continues to be a guest lecturer on health equity in “Psychological and Social Diversity in Health and Wellness ” (NURS103), the class that first attracted her to teaching.
Opportunities to Learn and Collaborate at Penn Nursing
Ms. Wildenberg wears many hats at Penn Nursing. She is a lecturer for and co-course director of “Advanced Roles in Administrative Nursing Practice” (NURS699), one of the last classes taken by graduate students in the Nursing and Health Care Administration and Health Care Leadership programs. In this class, nursing executives review their career paths, discuss lessons learned, and explain how they developed as nursing leaders. The course is designed to help nursing students determine their own future career paths and visualize their future roles as executive nurses in leadership positions.
Another course, “Nursing Administration Practicum” (NURS655), for Nursing and Health Care Administration majors, is tailored to each student’s individual interests. As course director, Ms. Wildenberg uses her background as a nurse manger to help students design projects to improve systems in healthcare.
The Nursing and Health Care Administration and Health Care Leadership programs enable students to design a course of study customized to their career goals. Both programs include opportunities for electives in other schools at Penn, including the Wharton School of Business and the law school. Ms. Wildenberg also interviews and recommends students for these programs and, as an academic adviser, helps students select classes and coordinate schedules as they plot their academic path.
Selected Career Highlights
- Co-Author, “Young Women’s Beliefs About Sexually Transmitted Disease and Sexually Transmitted Infection,” Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing
- Developed and implemented launch plan for Madison and Dane County Nurse-Family Partnership.
- Nurse manager, Nurse Family Partnership expansion, Atlantic City, New Jersey