Nursing at Penn Medicine

Penn Nurses Give Back to the Community

Penn nurses serve the local community by carrying on the tradition of caring beyond the hospital walls and reaching out into the community. They volunteer hundreds of hours each year in many programs throughout the Philadelphia area.

The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP)

HUP nurses give back to the community by serving countless roles including the following:

Educators and Mentors

  • Partner with McCall School to present information on sun safety, smoking cessation and prevention and other health topics
  • Provide domestic violence awareness workshops for clergy
  • Travel to developing countries with Operation Walk to provide orthopaedic care and nursing education
  • Partner with the University of Pennsylvania Healthy in Philadelphia Initiative to provide health education in the local community
  • Co-sponsored the 2nd Annual Philadelphia Community Baby Shower
  • Host a one-hour Community Health Education radio program
  • Participate in Penn Presbyterian's Spring into Health Community Day
  • Collect uniforms to share with nursing colleagues in Africa
  • Participate in Tom Joyner's Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day
  • Volunteer at Camp Erin, which helps children ages 6-17 years who have lost a significant person in their lives
  • Sponsor the Annual 5K Bike Ride and Community Health Fair

Fundraisers and Supporters

  • Serve meals and present health information to the homeless at Old St. Joe's Church and the Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission
  • Donate and serve food at a Mother's Day brunch for a local women's shelter
  • Participate as team members in the Susan B. Komen Walk for the Cure for Breast Cancer as well as the American Diabetes Association and American Heart Association Walks
  • Participate in the American Cancer Society's "Get Your Rear in Gear" Colon Cancer Awareness
  • Lead collection of toys for needy children
Pennsylvania Hospital (PAH)

Pennsylvania Hospital's community service efforts aim to improve the quality of life for those they serve and include the following:

  • A health fair hosted by skilled staff for the entire community in West Philly which included healthy eating, B/P screening, blood glucose monitoring and education stations for topics such as smoking cessation, exercise and much more
  • Regular education sessions at Old Saint Joe's on subject matter such as: diabetes, hypertension, weight management, stress and coping strategies
  • Hospital-wide initiatives to collect supplies and clothing for the victims of Hurricane Sandy
  • Working with Catholic Social Services at Mercy Hospice
  • Presentations on self-awareness, guided imagery, SMART goal setting, interview skills and cancer prevention for women at Jane Adams Women's Shelter
  • Collection of supplies from all hospital departments for the homeless and caring staff deliver these goods on Christmas morning each year to local shelters
  • Participation in the Annual Heart Walk by multiple teams
  • CPR classes for family and friends program to in-patients and their families with CV diagnosis
  • CPR classes for parents in the community with newborn children
  • Yearly collection and donation of expired, opened and unused supplies to Mission Relief Services in Africa
  • Interdisciplinary mission trips to Guatemala and Haiti
  • Participation in Councilwoman Blackwell's gift-wrapping Holiday party
  • Organizing the MS City to Shore bike ride
  • Adopting needy families at Christmas and provided Christmas gifts for the entire family
  • Organizing a car seat event where certified car-seat technicians educated over 20 families
  • Labor and Delivery staff sponsored a expectant mother in need
Penn Presbyterian Medical Center (PPMC)

At Penn Presbyterian Medical Center (PPMC), working for the benefit of the community is not only a priority, it is rooted deep in our culture. We are sensitive to the disparity in the quality of health and health care among the people of West Philadelphia. Aware of these differences, we use our resources to improve the health and wellness among the underserved. Our hospital partners with community organizations to identify educational opportunities to promote healthier lifestyles and to meet community needs.

PPMC's Community Involvement: A Caring Tradition

PPMC nurses carry their tradition of caring beyond hospital walls and out into the community, volunteering for hundreds of hours each year in the West Philadelphia area and beyond. The hospital's Nursing's Professional Development Council has established numerous successful partnerships with civic leaders, not-for-profits and other organizations to address health care needs in the West Philadelphia population. Nurses play an active role in leading, planning and fulfilling PPMC's community outreach initiatives through these partnerships. By leveraging internal and external relationships, the Professional Development Council has been able to make a positive impact.

Events organized by the council generate a high level of volunteer participation and support from PPMC leadership, staff and nurses. Whether it is using their skills to educate at-risk populations on how to live healthier lives or helping to lift the spirits of those most in need, PPMC's nurses enthusiastically volunteer their time. Nursing continues to sustain and build upon these partnerships to serve the people at the center of their Professional Practice Model: patients, their families and the community.

The Community We Serve

In general, families living in the West Philadelphia area are predominantly African American, single-mother households. The highest level of education attained is typically a high school diploma. Within this community, there is a need for more education on the following health care topics:

  • Child and recreational safety
  • Prenatal care
  • Blood pressure
  • Stroke and diabetes care
  • Addictions
Community Service and Outreach Programs

PPMC's commitment to give back includes:

  • Volunteering at the Annual "Spring into Health" Community Day, providing health information, blood pressure screenings, and CPR demonstrations to children, adults and seniors from the West Philadelphia community. For this event, more than 50 PPMC nurses, nursing assistants and physicians provide screenings and education. Annually over 300 participants receive blood pressure and diabetes screenings with education, HIV testing and education, nutritional counseling, pharmaceutical medication reviews, physical exercise tips and more.
  • Partnering with West Philadelphia Community Center to host the Heart Healthy event, providing more than 100 blood pressure screenings
  • Serving 4,000 meals and distributing 2,000 donated gifts at Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell's annual holiday party for the homeless and disadvantaged
  • Walking in Philadelphia's American Heart Association Start! Heart Walk
  • Cycling in the City to Shore Bike event to support the National MS Society, Greater Delaware Valley's mission to mobilize people and resources to drive research for a cure and to address the challenges of everyone affected by MS
  • Co-hosting an Annual Christmas Celebration with the West Powelton Community Council for children in the community
  • Sponsoring PPMC's Annual Cultural Diversity Conference. The Cultural Diversity Committee was formed to create an environment where patients and their families receive care that is respectful of their individual differences.
  • Partnering in the Annual West Philadelphia Community Wellness Day and sponsored. More than 500 people in the community attended to learn how to improve their health. Presented by Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell, the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Healthy in Philadelphia and LIFE (Living Independently For Elders), and in collaboration with University of Pennsylvania Office of Government & Community Affairs and PPMC, the event offered an afternoon of health screenings, exercise workshops and more.
  • The Annual Penn's Way campaign that supports three campaign management organizations: the Center for Responsible Funding (CRF), Penn Medicine and the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania (UWSEPA).
  • Participating as a member of the Healthy in Philadelphia Committee, which oversees outreach opportunities in the local area. This group is a partnership between the health system's nursing school and the local community that aims to leverage collective resources to improve the health of residents. Since 2011, PPMC nurse Jennifer Nelson and William Hudson BSN, RD, OCN has been a standing members of this organization's First Thursday initiative, which enables nurses to meet regularly with block captains and determine how they can better serve and educate the community. Other members of the group include: Jannie L. Blackwell, a Democratic politician and member of the City Council of Philadelphia and James R. Roebuck, Jr. a Democratic politician who represents the 188th Legislative District (West Philadelphia) in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
  • Hosting and mentor inner-city high school students as part of the Penn Medicine Pipeline Program, which promotes future health care career and postsecondary educational opportunities for high school–aged students in the community. Local high school students are exposed to many health care professions and are given the opportunity to learn what careers in medicine are really like. For six weeks, PPMC host students as part of the program. Students are required to meet standards set by the school and submit an application to the program.
  • Volunteering at the Rudolphy Home for the Blind Christmas Dinner
  • Collecting and donating clothing, school supplies, food and more to the People's Emergency Center
  • Providing Saunders Park as a free resource to the community for a variety of activities and providing free land for a community garden on Sloan Street
  • Annual MS bike ride on the UPHS/PENN team to support the fight against Multiple Sclerosis
  • Offering community groups use of the hospital's meeting rooms free of charge
  • PPMC Clinical Nurse III Jennifer Nelson and Magnet® Program Director William Hudson are members of the L.I.F.E. Planning Committee for a Wellness Event. The L.I.F.E. program allows low-income seniors to continue living in their homes while receiving all health care services.
  • Leading CPR demonstrations and instruction at the Science Day in Clark Park. The program, "CPR Anytime" aims to empower at-risk families with the life-saving tool of CPR. PPMC volunteers spent the afternoon teaching local families the mechanics of CPR to promote circulation and oxygenation in the event of cardiac arrest.
  • At PPMC-owned Saunders Park, local children participated in an Easter egg hunt and other holiday festivities organized by the Catalyst for Change Church in West Philadelphia.
  • PPMC Nursing Department partnered with HUP Nursing Department with the fifth annual Magnet® Gala at Drexelbrook, which raised funds for the Donor Human Milk Bank, community service projects, and the purchase of scales for Congestive Heart Failure patients to self-manage their weight at home.
  • Raising $3,000 for local charities and $1,000 for Aid for Friends through the efforts of PPMC PACU nurses, Andrea Kwon-Murphy and Denise Alabado, who sell flower badges to raise money for charities
  • Hosting an Alex's Lemonade Stand, which raised money for pediatric cancer research
  • In honor of Martin Luther King Day, the Cultural Diversity Committee collected toiletries for PPMC's Behavioral Health Patients.
  • Participated in the LIVESTRONG Challenge Philly walk/run; proceeds benefited LIVESTRONG
  • Raised money through the hospital's Annual Fundraiser to fund department-suggested projects focused on enhancing the patient experience. Grants are awarded to the best ideas that improve the patient experience at PPMC.
  • Partnered with the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, the Internal Revenue Service and LIFT Philadelphia to pilot the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, an IRS-sponsored program to help eligible individuals have their tax returns prepared by IRS tax law certified volunteers at no cost
  • Participating in the family-friendly 5K run/walk, created by the Colon Cancer Alliance to help raise awareness about colon cancer. Half of all proceeds are donated to a patient navigation program that helps West Philadelphia patients complete their screening colonoscopies.
Clinical Practices of the University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania demonstrates their strong commitment to community through the following examples:

  • Provided volunteers in a medical hospital in Haiti, working in teams around the clock to provide much needed health care to victims suffering from disease and poverty post earthquake
  • Partnered with South Jersey Hurricane relief to provide physical labor as well as emotional support to displaced victims of Hurricane Sandy
  • Guest Chefs at the Ronald McDonald house, serving dinner to the parents of hospitalized children
  • Volunteered at Camp Oasis, a camp for children who have family members afflicted with cancer, providing a day of fun activities and support
Penn Home Care and Hospice Services

Penn Home Care and Hospice Services commitment to give back to their community is found in the following examples:

  • Started a foot clinic for the homeless held at the Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission at 13th and Vine Streets, called “Best Foot Forward,” and volunteering for it
  • For the last 16 years at Christmas time, Penn Care at Home staff visit homebound patients to bring Santa and carolers to patients and families identified by Penn Care at Home nurses, therapists, home health aides and social workers as needing holiday cheer.
  • Penn Care at Home nurses donate their time to a free medical clinic in West Philadelphia.