Drive in movie

Take a wide-open parking lot, unseasonably kind weather, free snacks, and a classic adventure film on the big screen and suddenly you have a safe, socially distanced night out that served as a perfect thank-you gift for physicians, employees, and volunteers at Penn Medicine Princeton Health.

Princeton Health hosted two screenings of the much-loved 1987 film The Princess Bride early last month on an inflatable screen erected at one end of a staff parking lot on the campus of Princeton Medical Center (PMC). Essentially it was a drive-in theatre. And Princeton Health supplied the movie-appropriate snacks to each car as it entered.

Attendees watched from their vehicles or from lawn chairs set up in open parking spaces. The total attendance was limited to ensure proper physical distancing between groups seated outside.

Reina Fleury, VP of Human Resources, said planning for the movie nights began after president and CEO Barry S. Rabner asked senior leaders to organize an event to express gratitude to staff members. The committee formed to plan the event included representatives of Human Resources, Princeton House Behavioral Health, the PMC Foundation, Community Wellness and Engagement, and Support Services, along with nursing and physician leaders.

“This has been a difficult year on so many levels, especially for health care workers,” said Debbie Millar, RN, director of Community Wellness and Engagement. “With the pandemic still going, we all feel a little cooped up and stressed. Movie night in the open air seemed like a great diversion for everyone.”

Arun Rao, MD, medical director of Care Coordination, attended one screening with his family and emailed Fleury afterward to thank the team for organizing such a fun outing. “It’s been a momentous day and a trying week,” he said. “This was such a nice way to top off the evening and introduce the kiddos to an all-time classic movie!”

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