Center for Healthy Nursing

The UPMC Center for Nursing Excellence, in collaboration with the UPMC Health Plan and the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, established the Center for Healthy Nursing to find opportunities to create a healthier workplace for nurses. There has been an early focus on:

  • Safe patient handling — reduce incidence of Injuries, decrease lost work days and decrease cost of medical claims. Completed equipment assessment and working with local hospitals to implement new lift equipment.
  • Minimizing health impact of shiftwork — pre-work completed for UPMC Magee Womens Hospital pilot (assessment and staff surveys). Respite rooms, naps at night, bundling off-shifts, and lighting.
  • Mindfulness and compassion fatigue — through mindfulness seminars and retreats, the UPMC Center for Nursing Excellence helps nurses be more mindful both in work and in life. During these sessions, nurses learn the meaning of resilience, the limitations of empathy and its connection to burnout, how to move past empathy to compassion, and more.
  • Safety coaches — A safety coach is an individual responsible for the implementation and maintenance of the safe patient handling program efforts in their unit/area. Safety coaches provide expertise in safe patient handling and moving of patients and residents, assisting in program monitoring and evaluation, training co-workers in program elements, acting as staff resources, coaches, and team leaders, and sharing other applicable knowledge. As we work to reduce work-related injuries, this role will be important to help streamline communication and actions for staff to keep them safe and healthy.
Keisel Nurses Week St. Margarets


Healing and health care go hand in hand. Through the support of the Center for Nursing Excellence, UPMC invited Dr. Barry Kerzin to share his knowledge with UPMC’s health care professionals on how to deal with what can be emotionally draining work.

Dr. Barry Kerzin is an American physician and Buddhist monk who has lived in Dharamshala, India since 1988. He serves as the personal doctor to the 14th Dalai Lama, and provides free medical treatment to his community. Dr. Kerzin has traveled throughout the United States, teaching the medical benefits of meditation, mindfulness, and compassion.

Through his teaching, we hope these professionals will find resilience in compassion and mindfulness, and reduce burnout, depression, anger, and frustration. It is our hope that this resilience training will be transmitted in a positive manner to our patients. We aim to transform medical education to incorporate self-care, compassion for others, mindfulness, and resilience.

Dr. Kerzin visited UPMC in the spring and fall of 2018, reaching 1,204 nurses over 20 sessions.


Nurses Week Conference

The UPMC Center for Nursing Excellence hosts an annual conference in celebration of national nurses week, bringing together nurses across the system from every business unit and specialty.

The annual conference provides nurses with an opportunity to network, share best practices and celebrate the profession. In 2019, Rich Bluni, RN, nationally renowned speaker and author of Inspired Nurse and Inspired Nurse Too, shared his enthusiasm and passion for health care and making a difference in his keynote address.

A highlight of the conference each year includes dozens of nurses-driven projects presented by our nurses. More than 200 UPMC nurses submitted abstracts, which are then reviewed by the Evidence-Based Practice Council. For the 2019 conference, 47 were selected to present. Below are our first place, second place and “people’s choice” winner:

First Place

Improving New Graduate Nurse Recruitment and Retention Through a Medical-Surgical Rotation Program

Catherine Brett Green, RN, MSN, CMSRN, senior clinician, UPMC St. Margaret

Second Place

Abracadabra: Change a Retired Hospital Laptop Into a Game-changing Tool for Family Education

Mary Jo MacPherson, BSN, RN, CBC, quality improvement manager, Teresa Mingrone, MSN, RN, CCRN, programmatic nurse specialist, and Diane Ankney, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, unit director, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh

People’s Choice

Only Takes Seven Minutes: Use of Dedicated Time to Reduce Falls and Fall-Related Injuries on a Medical Telemetry Unit

Felicia Maietta, BSN, RN, senior professional staff nurse, and James Rossi, RN, unit director, and Salanda Fernandez, RN, clinician fellow, UPMC Jameson

Nursing Research: First Place: Improving New Graduate Nurse Recruitment and Retention Through a Medical-Surgical Rotation Program

First Place

Nursing Research: Second Place: Abracadabra: Change a Retired Hospital Laptop Into a Game-changing Tool for Family Education

Second Place

Nursing Research: People's Choice: Only Takes Seven Minutes: Use of Dedicated Time to Reduce Falls and Fall-Related Injuries on a Medical Telemetry Unit

People's Choice

2019 Nurses Week Awards

There are seven awards presented during the 2019 Nurses Week Celebration to individuals who made significant contributions to nursing at UPMC. The recipients were nominated by their colleagues and voted on by a committee comprised of UPMC chief nursing officers and system nursing council co-chairs. Winners were honored in a special ceremony during the Nurses Week Celebration.

Listen to a short video clip of each winner being interviewed by Chief Nurse Executive, Holly Lorenz.

  • Rising Star in Clinical Practice: Kyla Colcombe, BSN, professional staff nurse, UPMC Presbyterian
  • Champion of Nursing: Velma Dorsey, environmental services associate, UPMC Presbyterian
  • Leading With Wisdom: Lauren Leigh Gorman, MSN, RN, unit director, UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital
  • Legacy of Nursing: Joanne Sorensen, DNP, RN, FACHE, chief nursing officer and vice president of Patient Care Services, UPMC Northwest, (retired)
  • Spirit of Inclusion: Susan Bender, RN, senior professional staff nurse I, UPMC Presbyterian
  • Outstanding Preceptor: Jennifer Claire Dobrzynski, BSN, RN, CPAN, senior professional staff nurse, UPMC Hamot
  • Outstanding Patient Advocate: Ruth Harris, BSN, RN, ONC, orthopaedic navigator coordinator, UPMC St. Margaret

UPMC Nurses Present Award to Pittsburgh Penguins

Ruth Harris BSN, RN, ONC, winner of the Outstanding Patient Advocate Award and Kyla Colcombe, BSN, winner of the Rising Star in Clinical Practice Award, had the distinct privilege of presenting Sidney Crosby with the Pittsburgh Penguins Player’s Player Award.

UPMC Nurses Present Award to Pittsburgh Penguins


LifeStages is a UPMC benefit designed for experienced nurses who have a multitude of skills and knowledge to share but may wish to reduce their physical job responsibilities. The program is open to most inpatient and procedural nurses across UPMC who meet eligibility requirements. The LifeStages program has been designed to give eligible participants more flexibility through a variety of ways

  • A flexible schedule with reduced hours (32 per week)
  • Reduced direct patient care responsibility (28 hours per week, on average)
  • Time to focus on other projects, such as Quality, Auditing, Care Management, Safety, Mentoring, etc. (4 hours per week, on average)
  • Full-time employee benefits

Parental Leave: Caring for New Parents

Parental Leave: Caring for new Parents

In addition to maternity leave, UPMC provides up to two weeks of Paid Parental Leave to be used within 12 weeks of a birth, adoption, or foster care placement.

Empowering Nurses through electronic scheduling

Empowering Nurses Through Electronic Scheduling

ShiftSelect® is a web-based, real-time scheduling system that allows staff to submit their preferred schedules, to request time off and to access their schedule from nearly anywhere. It supports managers with their scheduling and staffing responsibilities, as well as their payroll. Nurses, support staff and managers are benefiting from this technological solution.

Focusing on easy access to scheduling, ShiftSelect offers a mobile app that allows staff to view their current schedule and submit for time off. In addition to nurses having a greater ability to submit their scheduling preferences, managers can make better and more timely decisions about staffing, which are immediately visible to all of their staff.

Person holding a Phone with calendar schedule on screen
Over 59% of units using the self-scheduling software exceed NDNQI Nurse Engagement mean for How much influence do you have over the hours or schedule that you work?

UPMC Nurses Recognized with Daisy Awards

An acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System, The DAISY Foundation was formed in November, 1999, by the family of J. Patrick Barnes, who died at age 33 of complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP). The nursing care Patrick received when hospitalized profoundly touched his family. UPMC is proud to participate in the DAISY program and celebrate nurses who provide extraordinary, compassionate and skillful care every day. Nurses are nominated by anyone in the organization – patients, family members, other nurses, physicians, other clinicians and staff — who experiences or observes extraordinary, compassionate care being provided by a nurse.

DAISY Awards Go International at UPMC

The DAISY award recently went international at UPMC when UPMC ISMETT presented their first DAISY award to Mimmo Di Girolamo, RN for the first quarter in 2019. Mimmo was nominated by a terminally ill patient’s family.

“Mr. Mimmo Di Girolamo went beyond the requirements of Professional Ethics and his job description, showing rare sensitivity in everyday gestures, not necessarily linked to the technical aspect but empathically entering our difficult reality. Mr. Mimmo used to visit at the end of the shift and also in the different departments that hosted Laura, offering himself for a chat that has contributed so much to creating harmony and trust, despite everything, in the parents, in me and especially in Laura.”

Mr. Mimmo Di Girolamo

Employee Engagement Survey

UPMC Nurses are provided with the opportunity to share their thoughts, feelings, and ideas about their workplace experience by taking the MyVoice Survey. The full MyVoice survey is held every two years. Survey responses are confidential. DecisionWise is an external firm that administers the survey and provides UPMC with anonymous results.

Based on previous MyVoice survey feedback, the UPMC Center for Nursing Excellence made positive steps toward improving communication, engagement, and career development:

  • To improve nurse communication across UPMC, Nursing News is now an Extra! news feature every Thursday. The Extra! is a system-wide email sent to UPMC employees daily.
  • Online chats with Chief Nurse Executive Holly Lorenz and members of the Center for Nursing Excellence leadership teams have addressed topics like My Nursing Career, the UPMC Center for Healthy Nursing, and opportunities for future nurses at the UPMC Schools of Nursing.
  • The enhanced My Nursing Career Clinical Ladder and career development events like the Nursing Talent Round Up, have been designed so nurses can truly begin, grow, and progress through their entire career at UPMC.
  • The UPMC Center for Nursing Excellence is dedicated to promoting a healthy workforce and has created the Center for Healthy Nursing to address opportunities for nurses to improve their health, wellness, and mindfulness.
  • The UPMC Center for Nursing Excellence has begun Mindfulness Retreats for our caregivers, which have been extremely well-received and attended. One nurse noted, “The mindfulness retreat offered me the tools to implement into daily practice changes that allowed me to better care for my patients and myself.”

“I am proud that so many UPMC nurses used their voices to influence change,” said Holly Lorenz, MSN, RN, chief nurse executive. “The insightful ideas and areas of improvement you shared during the survey are having a positive impact on our nurses’ professional experience and the overall UPMC experience.”

In 2018 MyVoice nursing participation increased by 48% from 2016 and increased in engagement by 4%