UPMC Memorial’s New Chief Nursing Officer Found Leadership Calling at York College
Tracy Miller ’99 worked in several specialties throughout the region before returning home to York County for her most recent position at UPMC Memorial.
Tracy Miller ’99 remembers walking into the new simulation lab at York College of Pennsylvania more than 20 years ago and feeling a buzz of excitement. The implementation of technology and hands-on experience that was accessible to students told Miller she was in the right place.
While she initially thought she wanted to pursue a career in Mass Communication, Miller had worked for several years as a unit clerk at York Hospital, meeting local healthcare professionals as well as York College students on rotation.
When she decided to switch her focus, she found a wealth of support at York College. She loved every rotation she ever had as a student and became a bedside nurse in the oncology department at York Hospital upon graduation. After working there for several years, she became a nurse manager, later working in behavioral health and the open-heart intensive care unit (ICU).
“I knew through all the experiences that York College gave me that I wanted to pursue leadership,” she says. “A nurse can have a big impact in leadership, and York College prepared me for those opportunities.”
Miller was recently named the Chief Nursing Officer at UPMC Memorial in York County. When she started the position in April 2021, it was a homecoming, she says. The York County native has worked in a variety of roles throughout the region, but she felt her heart pulling her back to her hometown—and the brand-new hospital she saw coming to life in the community.
In 2014, she took a position at Reading Hospital in the medical ICU. “That was a tough decision,” she says, looking back. “It was tough to leave home, but there are a lot of opportunities in nursing. I wanted to expand what I knew.”
The commute of an hour and 45 minutes each way soon became tiring, and Miller looked for an opportunity to find a middle ground. She landed at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health and lived two blocks away from work. She started as a nurse manager in the cardiac unit, but after seven months, she was asked to become the Interim Director of Nursing. After another 11 months, she became the Director of Nursing for Medical-Surgical and Oncology.
With her family all living in York County, Miller felt a longing to come home. She’d been watching UPMC Memorial from a distance and admired the impact the new hospital hoped to make in the community.
When the position for Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Patient Care Services became available, she was happy to take on this responsibility and felt it was the right fit for her. She moved back to York County in June.
Making an impact
Miller oversees all nursing staff at UPMC Memorial and is guiding her nurses through a new initiative called Pathways to Excellence, which aims to build committees and share the governance of nursing staff so they can have a voice in patient care.
She’s also overseeing new strategies in patient care, such as shortening time in the emergency room and working on the preparation of discharge instructions to reduce return visits.
“I love being at a smaller hospital that has a focused sense of community,” Miller says. “At the same time, UPMC Memorial carries the backing of a larger brand with a ton of resources. It allows us to have a bigger impact.”
Just as all the career opportunities influenced Miller’s career journey, she points to her educational opportunities at York College for setting her on the right path.
“There are so many different options that exist for nurses, and I never had to choose one and stick with it,” she says. “I knew I wanted to be a leader, and York College gave me the tools to do that.”