Penn Nursing

A Day in the Life (During the Pandemic) - Helene Fuld Pavilion for Innovative Learning and Simulation

What does a typical day look like during a global pandemic for the critical staff and faculty at Penn Nursing’s pioneering Helene Fuld Pavilion for Innovative Learning and Simulation?

Bringing Simulation Alive Virtually

A dynamic team ensures quality clinical experiences for students.


5 AM

Ashly’s alarm sounds—with two kids under six, it’s the only quiet time she’ll have. She responds to overnight emails, writes a medication or assessment exam, brainstorms a virtual simulation, and sets up calls with course directors and IT to figure out how to best utilize Canvas to enhance online learning.

6 AM

Ann Marie calls Julie Sochalski PHD RN FAAN, Associate Professor of Nursing and Associate Dean for Academic Programs, to discuss clinical and simulation PPE requirements. “What’s required for students entering partnering clinical agencies? Goggles, face shields, N95 or surgical masks, gowns?” Needs change daily, and they must know policies and distribution so students are safe. Doesn’t everyone talk to their boss at 6 a.m.?

8 AM

Ashly checks emails and makes sure Epic, the electronic health record, is good for the day while playing a game or reading a book with one of her children.

8 AM

Anderson assists faculty by creating multiple BlueJeans conference lines in Canvas for all of the students’ online simulation sessions while also learning himself: new B-line technology for audiovisual capture and how to enter orders and create patients in Epic.

9 AM

Aleaha logs into BlueJeans to greet her N165 (Integrated Pathophysiology, Pharmacology, and Therapeutics) students for a synchronous simulation session. Today she reviews injections and electronic health record integration, and runs a simulation that focuses on room surveillance, patient identification, physical assessment, SBAR, and medication administration. Usually this sim is facilitated ”in person” in the Helene Fuld Pavilion but was previously taped to accommodate remote learning.

9 AM

Allanna’s persistence pays off: USPS just delivered a Surface Pro to a N165 student so they can fully engage in the sim experiences. Chris follows up with the midwifery faculty and students—did they receive their pelvis task trainers for their online teaching sessions?

Ashly triages texts from instructors: students are having Epic issues or connectivity issues. After trouble-shooting, she visits her simulation rostered sections—virtually, of course! She provides 1:1 assistance to students by creating breakout sessions in BlueJeans, giving her the opportunity to connect and provide feedback.

10 AM

Ann Marie takes a trip to the simulation center—with the kids in tow—to pick up supplies to mail to the standardized patients acting in telehealth visits for N380, Nursing in the Community.

Diana, Jamie, and Debbie finish up calls with faculty to assist in planning their sim sessions for Fall 2020. Pandemic requirements: 25 percent capacity in simulation rooms, six-foot circumference between each student, live streaming simulation into classrooms, and the list goes on. A challenging task!


Lunch time for Ashly since the pandemic—she eats, catches up on emails, and watches her daughter dance around in a tutu and scream, “I’m hungry!” Before she hits “send” on her email, there’s an appendage on her leg: Her son begs her to listen to knock-knock jokes. Her lunch break may be more joyful but ends with hunger pangs.

1 PM

Ann Marie packs the moulage and supplies to be mailed to N380 actors— her kitchen is now a staging center! She preps the faculty for telehealth visits.

Aleaha and Anne log in to the second N165 session to teach medication administration concepts and facilitate simulation scenarios. Caffeine is key: They’ll teach until 8 p.m.!

1:30 PM

Ashly sets up the kids for naps and play time. (Woohoo! They earn one hour of screen time if they are quiet!)

2:30 PM

Anderson films simulation scenarios for online sim sessions while Debbie inserts oxygen devices and other supplies into kits for N245 (Nursing of Young and Middle Aged Adults) instructors to teach and reinforce skills for fall 2020 remote simulation sessions. Oh, and that Play-Doh is used to create ostomies!

4 PM

Aleaha and Anne get a break and sneak in emails about fall courses, updates on the latest clinical plan, and return to campus, then strategize on solutions to safely educate Penn Nursing students.

3 - 5 PM

Christina plans a photo and video shoot for an upcoming course—she’ll film airway and central line equipment, obtain photos of hospital rooms and the surrounding environment, and stage scenarios on airway management and blood administration. She calls Spirit Communications to secure standardized patients for online mental health televisits for N235, Psychiatric Nursing.

5 PM

Ann Marie tries to figure out geometry and how to teach it to her son while making dinner. She also prepares for her N380 content expert/actor orientation that runs from 7PM–8PM.

8 PM

Aleaha and Anne remove their headsets, take deep breaths, and adjust to “in person” communication with their families. Aleaha turns on the lavender diffuser and preps a bath—tomorrow’s 9AM session comes very quick.

10 PM - 5 AM

Fuld Pavilion Faculty and Staff dream about scheduling, planning, PPE, triaging connectivity issues, BlueJeans, live streams, masks…zzzzzzzzzzzz…lights out until tomorrow.

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