With 40 hospitals in our health care system, a career at UPMC allows you plenty of choices in work environment. Excited by the opportunity to treat patients in the hustle and bustle of a larger, urban hospital? Or are you looking for the chance to care for your neighbors in a smaller, community setting? Regardless of the location, UPMC nurses have endless opportunities for growth available to them in facilities fueled by a close-knit culture and a commitment to caring.

Here are the stories of just a few nurses in our UPMC North Central Pa. region who shared how they’re making the most of their career at UPMC! They’re proof that no matter who you are, where you work, or how long you’ve been on our team, pursuing a career at UPMC is a choice you can be confident in.

Matthea: Starting with Support & Pursuing Opportunity

Matthea R., Professional Staff Nurse, UPMC Williamsport

Matthea R., a Professional Staff Nurse at UPMC Williamsport, a larger hospital, pursued nursing out of a passion for caring for and helping others. Although she’s only been a nurse for under a year, Matthea knew she wanted to begin her career with UPMC.

“With COVID, I started later than normal. I’m still learning, but I wanted to come here — the pay is great, it’s very competitive for the local area. I ended up getting hired to the Progressive Care Unit (PCU), which is what I wanted. I drive an hour to work every day and I could’ve driven five minutes. I think that says a lot,” Matthea said. “You can get paid well and not like your job.”

For Matthea, the desire to begin her career in the PCU is driven by her goal to eventually work in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). She wanted to gain some experience before entering a faster-paced unit, so she pursued the PCU, where she specializes in caring for cardiac and lung patients.

“I’d like to get to the ICU eventually, and I figure this is a good stepping stone,” Matthea said. “I definitely feel like there’s good opportunities to get there. When I came here, it was kind of like, ‘We see you as a great nurse. We see that you have potential to do something more than this.’ Hearing that, you know everyone roots for you, and I love that.”

Although Matthea’s first year as a nurse was largely dominated by COVID-19, she feels that the increased demand of her unit allowed her to pick up a lot of new skills in just a short time.

“I feel like I was thrown into one of the most difficult seasons for a nurse and for patients,” Matthea said. “Instead of our floor having – I think 24 is our max patient load – we went up to 36 or something. We didn’t have enough rooms. I was taking on more assignments. It was really, really tough. But now that things calmed down, I feel like this is easy. This is nothing compared to what it was.”

"I enjoy [my role] because you can build relationships with your staff and make an impact in that way, instead of just with patients.  You get to take care of your staff, who take care of the patients, which is rewarding.”

Tyler C., Nurse Leader, UPMC Wellsboro

Tyler: Building Relationships & Looking Forward

Tyler C., Nurse Leader, UPMC Wellsboro

Even nursing leaders with years of experience under their belts agree that COVID provided all nurses with a unique opportunity to bond and learn more. Tyler C., a Nurse Leader at UPMC Wellsboro – located in a county that was hit hard by the virus – said the pandemic brought staff closer together.

“The staff was very close during COVID, and still are. I think it showed them what they could do,” Tyler said. “During COVID, it wasn’t just nursing – it was housekeeping, the kitchen staff; the hospital as a whole helped everywhere. The OR staff – staff that hasn’t worked on the floor in years – helped. It’s a close-knit family.”

Tyler, whose career carried her to several other hospitals before joining UPMC Wellsboro three years ago, chose the Tioga County facility for its community nature. “I had the choice of here, UPMC Cole, or another out-of-system hospital,” she said. “I picked this one from all the stories that I was hearing. The home-y community feel is what brought me [to Wellsboro], and it’s pleasantly surprised me ever since.”

Tyler, who always longed for a leadership role, says the support provided at UPMC Wellsboro is the reason she looks to continue her career at the facility. “I enjoy it because you can build relationships with your staff and make an impact in that way, instead of just with patients,” Tyler said. “You get to take care of your staff, who take care of the patients, which is rewarding.”

So, what’s next for this nursing leader? Tyler is currently in school for her doctorate degree, which she says has given her a different point of view surrounding her work.

“It gives you more of a global perspective instead of just looking at it from a staff point of view,” Tyler said. “You’re also looking at it from a nursing leader point of view, so you get a more global perspective of what’s going on and you really understand that nursing is short right now.”

“The teamwork we have in this unit is phenomenal. I just know that they have my back, I have their backs, and we’re a really strong team.”

Jeannine S., Clinician, UPMC Williamsport

Jeannine: Treasuring Mentorship & Valuing Community

Jeannine S., Clinician, UPMC Williamsport

Jeannine S., a Clinician at UPMC Williamsport, has been a nurse for over four decades and continues to take advantage of educational opportunities. Jeannine first got her LPN license in 1978. In 1992, she returned to nursing school to get her RN degree. She returned to the hospital setting in the early 2000s when she saw an RN opening in the OB unit at UPMC Williamsport, where she’s been ever since. In 2018, she returned to school for her bachelor’s degree so she could take on a clinician role.

“When I was an LPN, I always wanted to do more, so it just seemed like the right thing to do. When I worked here as a staff nurse in OB, I just saw the opportunity to be a clinician and they had this great program,” Jeannine said. “They paid for most of my schooling to get my bachelor’s. UPMC has given me great opportunities to go back and get more education.”

During her nearly 13 years in the OB at Williamsport, Jeannine has helped to deliver countless babies — including her own grandchild. In fact, in a two-month span, she delivered five of her neighbors’ babies. “They requested me! One was my daughter, who is also my next-door neighbor. The last baby that I helped deliver – I had taken care of her great-grandma in-home care. I’ve taken care of that family for five generations.”

This seasoned nursing veteran, who plans to retire from UPMC Williamsport, treasures the opportunity to mentor her staff, ensuring that everyone on her unit is well-equipped to tackle any emergencies that may arise. “OB’s one of those places that is usually a very happy place, but not always,” Jeannine said. “We have emergencies that happen – things can go sour in a second – and the teamwork we have in this unit is phenomenal. I just know that they have my back, I have their backs, and we’re a really strong team.”

Along with mentorship, Jeannine ensures her staff is confident heading into any situation by administering competency exams and guiding her staff through a simulation lab, where they have access to a birthing mother simulator, as well as a baby. This technology is capable of representing real-life situations that may occur in the birthing room, so each member of Jeannine’s staff is well-prepared when it comes time to provide patient care.

The teaching, training, and preparing pays off. Jeannine ran into a patient in the community who had recently given birth, and briefly explained her interactions with the UPMC Williamsport OB staff amidst birthing complications.

“She was telling me the experience, and she said, ‘Your team was amazing. They were like a well-oiled machine. They knew exactly what they were doing. They worked so well together. Even my husband was so impressed.’ Again, that’s just a competency day’s work – and we’re on the right track,” Jeannine said.

No matter your location, every nurse at UPMC is supported by the My Nursing Career Ladder, a nursing-specific career ladder that spans over 20 clinical specialties and more than 50 unique nursing roles. Whatever your area of interest, there’s a nursing career at UPMC designed for you. Whether you’re looking to advance to an elevated role or to continue your education, UPMC’s career pathway equips you with the resources, feedback, leadership, and benefits to help you succeed and achieve your career goals.