Building (and Hiring) for the Future at Penn Medicine’s New Pavilion

With 17 stories, 504 patient rooms, and 47 operating rooms, Penn Medicine’s new 1.5 million-square-foot Pavilion is equipped to define the future of medicine. Behind the Pavilion walls, however, a visionary team of employees will drive the treatments of today and the medical advancements of tomorrow.

In the months leading up to the Pavilion debut, a massive recruitment effort is underway to hire more than 600 employees. These future employees have the unique opportunity to join the Penn Medicine team and provide innovative care in a state-of-the-art inpatient facility as an integral part of one of the world’s leading academic medical centers.

“To come into this hospital as an employee is an experience unlike any other,” said Denise Mariotti, chief human resources officer of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP). “Although the Pavilion is an extension of HUP, the location, size, and scope of the building require us to fill a significant number of clinical and non-clinical positions — and every position plays a critical role in providing a superior patient experience.”

Prioritizing Form and Function

The Pavilion has been lauded for its ability to provide an enhanced patient experience thanks to the building’s design, a telemedicine infrastructure, and in-room technology that strengthens communication among patients, families, and care teams. These unique features, however, significantly improve the employee experience, too. In fact, every detail about the Pavilion was planned in conjunction with the interdisciplinary clinical teams that understand patient and employee needs best.

Before a single brick was laid, HUP employees had the opportunity to explore a life-sized, 30,000-square-foot mock-up of the Pavilion, helping inform architecture and work flow. Based on employee feedback, doors and elevators were widened, rooms were rearranged, and collaborative processes were reimagined.

“Our work at the Pavilion was done in collaboration with the people who are providing day-to-day patient care,” said Colleen Mattioni, DNP, MBA, RN, chief nursing executive at HUP. “The clinical teams really dictated how spaces in the Pavilion would look and act in order to foster a strong culture of teamwork. Everyone who is going to live and work in the building had a level of input into the design and function of each individual unit.”

Jordan Mellinger, MSN, RN, an oncology nurse manager who has worked at HUP for over 10 years, participated in the Pavilion simulations in 2015 and 2016, and is preparing to move over to the Pavilion. “Transitioning to the Pavilion is a tremendous career milestone,” Mellinger said. “It has truly been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be involved in this process since its inception, and I’m really looking forward to witnessing our forward-thinking in action.”

Pavilion DR Room

Ultimately, the collaborative nature of the Pavilion build ensures that patients and employees alike get the most out of their experience. For example, the design of each room provides patients with the autonomy to control their environment, whether its adjusting the air conditioning, dimming the lights, or lowering the shades. This small but significant feature helps minimize patient discomfort and improve sleep, while also cutting down on the amount of time clinical team members spend visiting patient rooms for non-care related reasons. Similarly, there have been opportunities for employees to select features of the Pavilion that would impact their day-to-day experiences. For instance, a “Chair Fair” allowed staff to select seating that lent itself to safe patient handling, ergonomics, staff safety, and thorough cleaning and disinfecting.

Employee well-being considerations were also made beyond the clinical setting. Covered bike racks for cyclists, employee respite and recharge spaces, lactation stations, ample natural light, and an art installation from renowned artist Maya Lin help employees feel their best at work.

Under the Good Food Healthy Hospital initiative, patients, families, and employees will have access to delicious and nutritious food options. This means that when it opens, the Pavilion, like the rest of Penn Medicine’s clinical facilities, will earn recognition from the Philadelphia Department of Health for its commitment to implement standards for foods and beverages that fall into five categories: vending machines, overall purchasing, food and beverages served to patients, food and beverages served in cafeterias, and catering.

These Pavilion perks are in addition to the outstanding compensation and benefits package that is provided to all University of Pennsylvania Hospital System (UPHS) employees. Along with professional development opportunities and work-life balance programs, UPHS employees benefit from a retirement contribution and 403(b) matching plan, tuition assistance, and commuting incentives.

Hiring for the Future

With only a few months left until opening, UPHS’ recruitment teams are hard at work filling Pavilion positions.

“Hiring for the Pavilion is certainly one of our biggest and most visible efforts,” said Meredith Kirkpatrick, talent acquisition manager for Clinical Talent Acquisition. And, much like the Pavilion build, partnership and collaboration with teams across UPHS has been a critical part of the process.

“The effort being put in is tremendous,” Kirkpatrick said. “To stay organized, we are holding weekly meetings, preparing executive summaries, and working closely with leadership to identify and solve for any potential challenges. Our recruitment team has been doing a wonderful job and support from the administration has been key. Everyone involved in this project is working together to schedule interviews, review applications, and make decisions and offers.”

The hard work has been paying off. To date, 114 Pavilion positions have been filled. In the weeks and months ahead, the recruitment teams will focus on hiring nurses, respiratory therapists, lab professionals, security officers, environmental service employees, and more.

“We have a ton of great openings available for the right candidate, and the Pavilion certainly provides candidates with an opportunity to join an amazing health system. Each of UPHS’ hospitals have something incredible to offer, and our recruitment teams are always looking for the right fit for the right culture.”

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