My Nursing Career

Inpatient bedside nursing is demanding, but ever-so-rewarding work, that is critical to UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh's mission. Nurses who work in this environment care for the sickest children and their families on units that function 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These bedside nurses work weekends, all shifts, and many holidays.

My Nursing Career is designed to create a clinical career path for inpatient bedside nurses. The role of the bedside nurse is pivotal to Children's Hospital's success because it focuses on our most critical work: the daily care of our patients and their families.

In addition, Children's Hospital is committed to providing all bedside nurses with the resources necessary to ensure continued career advancement opportunities. This includes career consultations, on-site exams, training programs for achieving additional certification levels, and a generous tuition reimbursement program that includes the expense of certification exams.


Diane Hupp, RN, MSN Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC 
"Making a difference in a child's life is one of the most important and rewarding opportunities that Children's offers. CAP creates an additional career advancement opportunity for all of Children's bedside nurses and enables us to recognize those individuals who excel in this role."
Diane Hupp, DNP, RN, NEA-BC
Vice President, Patient Care Services, and Chief Nursing Officer
UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh

My Nursing Career is designed around five levels of progressive clinical nursing practice:

My Nursing Career– Levels

Staff Nurse

This is an entry-level position for new graduates during their first year of practice at the bedside. It is intended to be a novice level of practice in which new graduates learn their roles and develop skills and abilities, often through the mentoring of a more experienced nurse. In order to progress to a Professional Staff Nurse, a nurse must successfully complete licensure requirements, have six months to one year of experience, and receive a satisfactory good/solid/strong appraisal on their most recent performance evaluation.

Professional Staff Nurse

This position is designed to recognize and reward UPMC’s skilled and knowledgeable registered nurses. Staff nurses can progress to this level in a minimum of six months and nurses may choose to remain at this level throughout their careers. Experienced nurses joining UPMC most often enter at this level. Incremental salary increases are based on performance and experience. As their experience grows, professional staff nurses are increasingly relied upon to serve as patient care leaders and to serve as preceptors for new nurses.

A bachelor’s of science degree in nursing is preferred but not required.

Senior Professional Staff Nurse

This position is designed for nurses who want to continue to advance their careers. As their experience and expertise grows, senior professional staff nurses are increasing relied upon to serve as unit leaders. They serve as role models for professional nursing practice by serving as recognized leaders in one or more of the following areas: clinical expert, staff or patient educator/teacher, specialized resource nurse, and/or through evidenced based practice. Incremental salary increases are based on performance and experience.

Promotion to this level requires:

  • A minimum of two years of experience. 
  • A good/solid/strong appraisal on their most recent Professional Staff Nurse performance evaluation.
  • An annual performance appraisal of good/solid/strong or above to maintain the position.
  • A current UPMC-approved Nursing certification. UPMC’s tuition assistance program supports certification. Nurses with a master’s or doctorate degree in Nursing are not required to achieve certification.
  • On an annual basis, nurses in this position must identify and successfully complete a pre-approved professional contribution that supports UPMC’s nursing goals. Examples of professional contributions include a patient satisfaction improvement initiative, a work redesign project, recruitment or retention initiative, or a staff development initiative.
  • A bachelor’s of science degree in nursing is preferred at this level but not required.

Clinician or Primary Nurse Care Coordinator (PNCC)

There are a limited number of these roles per unit at this level to which nurses apply as positions become available. Clinicians are primarily responsible for serving as leaders in clinical nursing practice, identifying patient and staff focused opportunities for improvement and leading the change process. PNCC’s are primarily responsible for leading and clinically managing a caseload of patients. These positions are exempt.

These professional promotions require:

  • A minimum of 3 years of experience.
  • A bachelor’s of science degree in nursing is required. A master’s degree (MSN or CNL) is preferred.
  • Demonstrated performance in leadership and patient care with potential for growth.

Unit Director

There are a limited number of roles at this level to which nurses can apply when available. Unit Directors are responsible for Unit operational leadership. These professional promotions require:

  • A minimum of 4 years of progressive leadership experience required with relevant clinical experience preferred.
  • a BSN required at time of hire or transfer into position. A master's degree in Nursing or related health care field required, either at time of hire/transfer, or must be enrolled in a program within one year of hire/transfer date and completed within three years of enrollment.
  • Demonstrated performance in operational leadership or patient and staff education.