When you think S.W.A.T. Team, what comes to mind? 

If you imagine police sirens and flashing squad cars rushing to the scene of an emergency, you’re probably thinking of the Special Weapons and Tactics law enforcement unit. In the health care realm, however, we’re talking about an entirely different kind of crew! 

At UPMC, the acronym S.W.A.T. stands for “Supplemental Work and Transition” and refers to a specialized rotational team of full-time nurses. These nurses are part of a system-wide supplemental workforce and float pool called the System Nursing Resources team, which includes part-time and casual nurses. 

Over the past year, S.W.A.T. and System Nursing Resources nurses have played a crucial role in bridging the gap for our hospital staff as patient censuses rose and extra hands were needed on board. Alexis S., RN, told us about five things you might not already know about being a member of this important team. 

1. Experiencing Travel and Flexibility

While most people typically think of a nurse as serving one unit at one particular hospital, full-time S.W.A.T. employees travel to all UPMC facilities within their region and rotate assignments on a six-week cycle, depending on staffing needs. Their unique schedule of working three 12-hour days per week allows nurses to spend more time doing things they enjoy outside of work and helps to prevent burnout.

2. Development & Career Opportunities

If you feel stuck in the day-to-day routine of your current role, S.W.A.T. nursing could be for you. Nurses are challenged daily to learn new skills, work in different service lines, and gain confidence to refine your nursing expertise. “It has been an exciting adventure,” Alexis said. “The exposure to different hospitals, units, and staff has been great, and I am so thankful for the professional growth that has been enabled in my role.”  

Additionally, circulating among various units and facilities allows S.W.A.T. nurses to gain hands-on experience in a wide array of areas as well as exposure to a diverse range of patient cases. Resource nursing professionals maintain a broad clinical knowledge base, making them valuable assets to our team and helping to prepare them for many different career directions whenever they’re ready to take their next step. 

3. Building Bridges and a Broad Professional Network

Traveling and working in multiple facilities allows S.W.A.T. nurses to foster professional connections throughout our system. “I have been able to meet the best nurses, supportive staff, and interdisciplinary team throughout the system,” Alexis said. S.W.A.T. nurses also gain a broad professional network with Physicians and Advanced Practice Providers when working in many specialties and service lines. And of course, filling the staffing gaps on a unit bridges relationships with the nursing staff on the unitso you can gain new friends among your nursing colleagues

4. Compensation & Benefits That Support You

As a reward for flexibility and the expectation of travel, members of the System Nursing Resources team are compensated at a premium rate and are eligible for shift differential for nights, weekends and weekend nights. Due to the nature of travel in this role, meals, mileage, and overnight hotel accommodations are eligible for reimbursement based on miles traveled, with optional overtime opportunities no matter where you travel! 

UPMC employees also have access to a benefits package that includes tools for sustaining a healthy work-life balance like paid time off, paid parental leave, wellness programs, mental health resources, Employee Assistance Programs, and more. Furthermore, UPMC employees can take advantage of a generous Tuition Assistance program for both education degrees and certifications.  

5. Empowerment to Change Lives

S.W.A.T. and System Nursing Resources nurses are empowered to work independently and bring their unique skills to each hospital they visit. This requires the buy-in of supportive and engaged leadership. According to Alexis, “our leaders are always so accessible and actively listening to our thoughts and feelings on current issues and trends.”  

Together, this team of outstanding nurses makes an impact on our patients every day. “I am so privileged to be a part of this SNR Team,” Alexis said. “We are leading in learning and innovation. I cannot imagine a better career and am happy I traveled this path.” 

UPMC is now offering sign-on bonuses of up to $15,000 for full-time S.W.A.T. nurses! Candidates with at least two years of nursing experience are eligible.

Ready to take the next step in your clinical career? Explore resource nursing opportunities below!

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