For a long time, Mandy K. didn’t know what she wanted to do with her career. As a high school student, she applied to five different colleges, declaring a different major field of study on each application — and she just couldn’t decide! But now, a decade into her career, Mandy can’t imagine doing anything other than nursing, and she can’t imagine being a nurse anywhere other than UPMC Altoona.

Mandy shared her passion for working at UPMC Altoona with us, and now we’re here to share the things about Altoona that Mandy loves most!

1. There’s No Place Like Home

Born and raised in Altoona, PA, Mandy left her hometown after high school graduation to go to nursing school in Pittsburgh. But after finishing an externship at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, she returned home to serve the community that she loves with her newfound nursing skills. As a result, she’s been rewarded with a meaningful career and powerful connections with her neighbors and coworkers.

“Working in Altoona, there’s a strong community feel,” Mandy said. “You see people you know, and you build strong relationships with doctors and people in general in a smaller hospital.”

2. All Hands on Deck

Because UPMC Altoona is a small community hospital, Mandy and her coworkers are often called upon to fill multiple roles. Her work as a Unit Director in the Neuro Progressive Care Unit (NPCU), allows her to care for a wide range of patients. In her unit, Mandy has cared for two-week-old babies, a 103-year-old, and every type of patient in between.

The NPCU is a 24-bed progressive care unit that specializes in the care of stroke and neuro patients.  This unit also cares for patients with pneumonia, CHF, heart disease, and any other issue that needs a monitored step-down bed. The teamwork on this unit is phenomenal and gives our nurses the education, discipline, and experience to work in any other type of unit!

“I love the variety, and I find it great coming into work because every day is a new day,” she explained. “I never know what I’m going to take care of, a different type of medical issue, something new I might learn.”

3. Teaching and Influencing

While Mandy loves caring for her patients, she has just as much passion for teaching and influencing the dedicated staff working alongside of her. Throughout the year, as nursing students and new employees come on board, Mandy draws on her years of nursing experience as a mentor and preceptor.

For employees who are new to UPMC Altoona, Mandy’s guidance and training help them adjust to the “real life” side of medicine. According to Mandy, she particularly enjoys playing a formative role in the careers of new graduates, helping them learn to apply and practice what they learned in school.

4. People Make the Place

At the end of the day, Mandy has chosen to build her career at UPMC Altoona for one simple reason: “I love the people that I work with, so that makes it a better day, every day,” she says. After over a decade spent at the same hospital, Mandy could have easily chosen to switch tracks or pursue a different area of medicine. However, her love for her coworkers, her community, and the people who surround her have kept her right where she wants to be – at UPMC Altoona.