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 resource nursing professionals. Irene C., RN with UPMC’s corporate S.W.A.T. Team, told us about five benefits being on the UPMC S.W.A.T. Team has brought to her life and career.

1. A Challenging, Rewarding Role

S.W.A.T. RNs can spend up to three six-week cycles at a location before receiving their next assignment, depending on staffing needs. 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.

2. Building Bridges and a Broad Professional Network

Though acclimating to fluctuating unit cultures and policies can take time, working in multiple facilities allows S.W.A.T. nurses to foster professional connections throughout our system. By filling the gaps when there are vacancies, Irene said, “we play a valuable role. I like to think of our team as a bridge until staff members return.” While cohesive communication and team collaboration are vital to managing the constant learning curve, employees also find individual opportunities to expand their personal skills sets and professional networks — great resources for climbing the clinical career ladder!

3. Making a Difference in Patients’ Lives

There’s no doubt that spending time with patients is a satisfying perk of this career. Though each day presents new obstacles, Irene approaches her patient load with a positive, ready-to-learn mentality. “The fact that I am needed makes me feel good about the job I do. Helping my patients and their families feel better is very rewarding,” Corwin shared. She knows her work is worthwhile because she sees the difference it makes in the lives of patients, family members, and the community.

4. Balancing Work and Life

UPMC provides employees with important tools for sustaining a healthy work-life balance, such as flexible scheduling and optional overtime hours. Working three 12-hour days allows allows some nurses, for example, to spend more time taking care of family during the remaining four days off and helps to prevent burnout. Irene explained, “I believe that letting work go when I am outside of the hospital allows me to take better care of patients when I am on assignment.”

5. Professional Opportunities

In addition to networking, rewarding patient interaction, and work-life balance resources, S.W.A.T. nursing allows employees to take advantage of continued education and training opportunities. Rotating through many different medical specialties helps resource nursing professionals maintain a broad clinical knowledge base, making them valuable assets in providing Life Changing Medicine.


Are you up for the challenge? If you’re ready to take the next step in your clinical career, we invite you to explore resource nursing opportunities!

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