From the Philippines to Pittsburgh: How I Became a Nursing Instructor at UPMC

UPMC Schools of Nursing, four, hospital-based nursing schools, exist to prepare our graduates to enter the workforce to become leaders in health care and advocates for their patients. Behind this goal exists our inspiring, multi-talented, and dynamic Schools of Nursing faculty, each of whom bring a different set of skills and an incredible story to the table. Join us as we share their stories


 By Jean Ruiz, UPMC St. Margaret School of Nursing

I am Jean Ruiz, and I am a nursing instructor at UPMC St. Margaret School of Nursing. Part of being a teacher includes being a coach, role model, encourager, cheerleader, and motivator. This job is the whole package, and I’m proud to play the role I do with my students, the next generation of nurses.

GETTING MY START IN THE PHILIPPINES

My journey to become a nurse and, eventually, a faculty member at St. Margaret School of Nursing began when my family immigrated to the United States from the Philippines. I began my nursing career in New York, and I entered my dream job of being a critical care nurse in a cardiac surgical unit at Mount Sinai Hospital. Working off-shifts, I began my master’s program in nursing education. Somewhere during that time, I married and moved to Princeton, New Jersey, to work in a critical care unit.

 “My journey to become a nurse and, eventually, a faculty member at St. Margaret School of Nursing began when my family immigrated to the United States from the Philippines.”

Upon graduation from my master’s program, I began a teaching career in a hospital-based school in Trenton, New Jersey. Curiosity made me try a clinical nurse specialist position in a trauma hospital where I provided education to new critical care nurses and continuing and competency-based education for the seasoned ones. That period of time allowed me to experience collaborative efforts when setting up new programs, protocols and policies.

BRINGING MY PASSION TO PITTSBURGH

When my family moved to Pittsburgh in 2008, I worked as adjunct faculty at the University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University. I then went on to accept a full-time position on the faculty at St. Margaret School of Nursing. The size and teaching load suits my personality and professional expertise, and the role is challenging yet fun.

I love instructing students who are multigenerational, multicultural, multifaceted learners. To see students reach “AHA!” moments inspires me to be the best I can be when I am with them, whether that’s in the classroom or in clinical settings. I try to impart to them the importance of quality communication, emotional intelligence, patience, dedication to a worthy profession, a continuous thirst for knowledge, and a commitment to improve and strive for excellence. I often tell my students that learning does not stop when nursing school ends; as a nurse, and now as a nursing instructor, I am learning something new every day.

“I love instructing students who are multigenerational, multicultural, multifaceted learners. To see students reach ‘AHA!’ moments inspires me to be the best I can be.”

As my students look forward to graduation, and I look forward to my continued role here at UPMC, I’m thankful to think back on my path so far. My parents started me on this journey — and as I embraced it fully, I learned to appreciate the importance of the nursing profession for the health and well-being of our world.


UPMC Schools of Nursing serves a diverse group of students whose unifying characteristic is their passion for patient care. Whether a recent high school graduate or a second-degree student, there’s a place for you at UPMC Schools of Nursing. Learn more about each program or schedule a campus tour.