Skip to main content

Inaugural Nursing StorySlam Celebrates the Profession

The brainchild of Penn Nursing’s Marion Leary, director of innovation, the Nursing StorySlam brought together ten nurses from Penn Nursing and Penn Medicine to share their true, personal stories that explored the breadth, depth, and diversity of nursing in front of a packed house at West Philly’s community arts space, the Rotunda.

Heard on Twitter during the event: “A storyteller pauses, mid-sentence, taking a moment to find her thoughts. ‘That’s okay,’ ‘we’re with you,’ the audience says. Room full of nurses.”

As Penn Nursing’s Dean Antonia M. Villarruel perfectly summarized, “What an event! This was truly a celebration of nurses and nursing. I was touched by stories of compassion and ingenuity in the face of human and personal tragedy. Thanks to our storytellers for sharing your stories with such vulnerability and humor!”

Truly a community effort, the event was supported by The Sachs Program for Arts Innovation, 3D printed trophies were supplied by the Penn Biomedical Library, storytellers received training from First Person Arts, and a generous cash prize was presented to the winner courtesy of BDO. Esteemed judges Dean Villarruel, Regina Cunningham, CEO of HUP, and Karen Meador of BDO awarded first, second, and third place as follows:

First place:


Erin Cornman, RN, BSN
MSN Acute Care student at Penn Nursing
Assistant Nurse Manager at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health
US Air Force Veteran

Watch Erin’s story below.

Second place:


Linda Fontanilla, RN, CCRN, BSN
DNP Nurse Anesthesia student at Penn Nursing
US Army Veteran

Watch Linda’s story below.

Third place:


Pamela Cacchione, PhD, RN, CRNP, BC, FGSA, FAAN
Penn Nursing’s Ralston House Endowed Term Chair in Gerontological Nursing
Penn Nurse Innovation Fellow
Nurse Scientist at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center

Watch Pamela’s story below.

Like Brianna Morgan, a Penn Nursing alum and one of the ten storytellers, explained, “In an age of quick fixes and administrative burdens, sometimes the most innovative thing you can do is make space to be human.” The Story Slam was a perfect celebration of that space.  

Thank you to Penn Medicine, First Person Arts, The Sachs Program for Arts Innovation, BDO, and all other participants and storytellers who helped to make this inaugural Story Slam such a success.