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Emily Hylton, BSN, RN, CCRN

Female nurse at pediatric patient's bedside.

First Year Nurse Anesthesia student, Fitzpatrick College of Nursing/Prospect Medical Holdings – Crozer Keystone Health System

Former Pediatric ICU nurse at CHOP and Travel Nurse at UCSF, Rady Children's Hospital of San Diego and Sutter Health Sacramento

April 5, 2020

Three nurse anesthesia students, Emily Hylton, Lucas Halliday and Shayla Davis, are part of a team with the College of Engineering  which is quickly developing a prototype for a low-cost ventilator for which there is an urgent need during the surge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I got involved with this project by reaching out to our director, Jodie Szlachta, and asking her if she knew of any specific organizations or groups who were in need of extra help during this unprecedented event. The bright side of the quarantine has been the gift of time.  During this time we have been able to focus more heavily on our didactic studies, so when we are able to return to clinical we can focus solely on catching up on our patient care hours. While studying has proven more than enough to keep me busy, the thought of the healthcare community struggling during this stressful time left me feeling there must be something more I could do to help. Jodie connected Shayla, Lucas, and myself with the engineering team to help do our part in positively impacting our community.

Our main role in the project is providing feedback on how the ventilators will work for the bedside nurse.  We have daily meetings with the team and we contribute general knowledge about managing ventilators at the bedside.  We help the team understand how the product would be used as well as appropriate safety measures that will need to be taken when the ventilator is implemented. All of the meetings have been virtual so we have not had to worrying about close interpersonal contact.

So far, the experience has been very exciting for us! It is fun to work with engineers and combine forces to help our patients. It is also a great learning experience as students. We are applying knowledge that we have learned in graduate school regarding ventilator’s modes along with clinical experience to help make this work.

Inspired to share your COVID-19 story?

We welcome submissions from Villanova Nurses about their experience during COVID-19. Please email with your photo, name, credentials, degree/year, role and employer/location along with a brief story of your experience, your reflections on nursing and/or how your Villanova Nursing education prepared you for this pandemic.

Your submission may be used on this page and potentially on social media or in related College communication. Thank you!