Excellent care begins with an excellent team, which is why we’re excited to bring great graduate nurses (GNs) on board to UPMC to advance in their careers and become the best at what they do! We asked a few new graduate nurses to share their stories of how they got to UPMC, and what they’re looking forward to as they begin their nursing career. Hear from Kate Z., a nurse at UPMC Mercy Emergency Department 

Kate, why did you decide to become a nurse?

Kate: Growing upmy parents had two very different professions: mdad worked in a laboratory and my mom was a teacher. watched them thrive in their respective careers and there were aspects of both that interested me. I loved the science behind my dad’s work but admired the way my mom dedicated herself to others. Nursing was the perfect career for me to combine the two.

How did you become a nurse, and where were you before you came to UPMC?

Kate: I received my Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from the University of Kentucky. During my time there I experienced what it was like to work in a large university medical center of Magnet status. That led me here!

How did you find out about UPMC and what inspired you to apply?

Kate: Though I enjoyed my time in Lexington, I am a Pittsburgh native. Even prior to earning my degree, it was always my goal to return home and work for UPMC. I also completed a student nurse internship with UPMC prior to graduation. The 10 weeks of intense clinical experience remain some of the most rewarding of my early nursing career and are ultimately what led me back to UPMC. 

Can you tell us more about your internship with UPMC?

Kate: My 10 weeks were spent in the emergency department. I got to work closely with our physicians – it was team-oriented, collaborative, and therewas great communication. The trust and mutual respect I had with my co-workers made it such a better environment to take care of patients. Everyone was devoted to the common goal of successful patient outcomes.

What was your transition to UPMC like?

Kate: Transitioning from a student to the role of a nurse was more difficult than expected, but thankfully I had amazing coworkers who guided me through the transition. The support I received from my onboarding team helped me feel comfortable starting and growing in my role. I never felt uncomfortable asking a question or for helppeople were always pulling me in to learn something new. UPMC really provides a good foundation to build on. 

All new graduate nurses that start at UPMC participate in a year-long nursing residency program. What’s that been like for you?

Kate: A highlight for me is when I get to gather with other new nurses once a month for a discussion we call “Tales of the Bedside.” During this time, all new nurses in the nursing residency program share the highs and lows of what’s going on in their transition. It’s nice to know that you’re not alone in some of the challenges of clinical care or adjusting to a new work environment. I love celebrating our successes together. 

We also develop an “evidence-based practice” project with other members of our cohort. Later, we present our findings and sometimes the projects and findings are implemented in hospitals! It’s neat to know that your voice and your practice does matter; even a new GN has the chance to make a difference 

What do you like best about your job?

Kate: In the emergency department, there is a very diverse patient population with a wide variety of health problems. It’s crucial to be able to both assess and intervene quickly, as patient condition can change at any moment. I also take pride in the team I work with at UPMC Mercy. From physicians to respiratory therapists, techs, and fellow nurses, I know that when a situation becomes critical I will never be alone. As a new graduate nurse this was imperative to my success in the ER. I felt comfortable challenging myself in these situations because of the resources available and the support from my colleagues.

What are your career goals?

Kate: I am most looking forward to continue growing as a new nurse. In the future I am hoping to obtain my CEN (Certified Emergency Nurse) and completing my TNCC (Trauma Nursing Core Course). I hope my experience in this department will allow me to identify ways we can improve our department and initiate changes that impact patient care for the better.

Any other advice for a graduate nurse starting their career with UPMC?

Kate: We are so fortunate as a unit and hospital system to have the many resources that we do. There is never a doubt in my mind of whether I have the means to provide the care that is necessary. On another note, the fact that we are an academic medical center truly drives our practice. A new perspective is always welcome and we are adopting and changing practices everyday. Bring your fresh ideas forward!

Feeling inspired to become a nurse at UPMC? Learn more about the opportunity for GN nursing positions with UPMC. 


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