Home > PUM Black History Salutes: Dawndra Jones DNP, RN, NEA-BC Vice President, Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer of UPMC McKeesport

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PUM Black History Salutes:  Dawndra Jones DNP, RN, NEA-BC 

Vice President, Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer of UPMC  McKeesport

Featuring Pittsburgh Leaders Who Inspire

PittsburghUrbanMedia.com proudly celebrates Black History Month this February 2015 by honoring and featuring African American Leaders who inspire and demonstrate a commitment to uplifting future generations. What makes a leader inspirational? The ability to inspire people to reach great heights of performance and success is a skill that leaders need. Passion, purpose, listening and meaning help make a leader inspirational.

As we celebrate Black History Month, these leaders featured during the month of February demonstrate how they are significantly helping to shape the world – in business, government, academia, the non-profit sector and more.  They are advancing their influence exponentially by shaping and creating a new generation of leaders who are poised to help lead our world forward.

We hope their stories will serve as an inspiration to encourage others to be motivated and inspired to achieve their goals and dreams.


Dawndra Jones DNP, RN, NEA-BC has been with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) for over 24 years, she has worked in multiple positions within the health system spanning from a staff nurse to various nursing leadership and executive positions.  In August 2014, Dr. Jones was named Vice President, Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer of UPMC McKeesport Hospital. Her strengths include a strong nurse management, recruitment and employee relations’ background. Her expertise is in leadership development, performance management, recruitment and retention strategy development, and financial management. She has been a national conference speaker on various topics that include the development of the Nurse Manager Scope and Span of Control Tool, diversity and inclusion in the nursing workforce and various professional development and advancement strategies. She received her bachelor's and master’s degree in nursing from Carlow University. December 2014 she received her Doctor of Nursing Practice focusing on nursing administration with a minor in nursing informatics from the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Nursing. Dr. Jones holds a Nurse Executive Advance certification from the American Nurse Credentialing Center. She was awarded the Sister Rose Curran Graduate Nursing Leadership Award from Carlow University. She also received the Shirley Chisholm Award for her work in the Pittsburgh community for her mentorship of grade school girls. Dr. Jones was recognized by the UPMC Center for Engagement and Inclusion with the Nursing Partnership Award for being instrumental in helping to promote the center’s efforts to promote inclusion, dignity, and respect in nursing. She was also recognized by the UPMC nursing division with the UPMC Leading with Wisdom Award. Currently Dr. Jones serves as a the co-chair for the state of Pennsylvania’s Action Coalition’s Diversity Council, member of the UPMC Board Inclusion & Diversity Committee, American Organization of Nurse Executives, Sigma Theta Tau, Pittsburgh Public School’s Health Careers Technology Occupational Advisory Committee and the Pittsburgh Black Nurses in Action, which is the Pittsburgh Chapter of the National Black Nurses Association.  She just completed her terms on the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh Charter School Board of Directors.


PUM: How do you Celebrate Black History month and what are some significant events and milestones in U.S. black history that you reflect on during this time?

Dr. Jones: I believe that we must celebrate and relish Black History month each and every day. In my home and at work in my office, I have photos and symbols that represent the triumphs of African Americans. I have mementos from attending the 1st Inauguration of President Barack Obama and from attending a White House Briefing on the State of Healthcare. Having a two-term African American President of the United States, demonstrates that all things are possible. Also I have three of my favorite photos of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. When I am having a challenging day at work, I mediate on these photos and read the verses on each of them that speak about vision, integrity, and dedication. The dedication photo has a picture of Dr. King in jail in Birmingham, AL and the verse says “Your self-sacrificing devotion to your purpose in life and your unwavering faith will carry you through times of difficulty” – Martin Luther King. When I reflect on what Dr. King and other civil rights leaders had to endure, it makes my current challenges seem minuscule as well as it provides me hope that I shall overcome.

PUM: Who are some of the African Americans in your life that you feel have positively helped to contribute to black history? How have they influenced and motivated you to make a difference in our world?

Dr. Jones: In my life, I had the honor and privilege to work alongside of some great African American leaders.  Locally, I had the opportunity to serve on the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh Charter School’s Board, chaired by Esther Bush, President and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh. Ms. Bush was been a great role model, mentor, advocate and friend to me. She has an impeccable way of networking with local, regional and national leaders to promote the development and status for people of color.  Also I am honored to serve as president of the Pittsburgh Black Nurses in Action (PBNIA), which is the local chapter of the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA). NBNA has various African American nursing leaders that are driving advances in health care across the nation. One of the individuals, Dr. Linda Burnes Bolton, Vice President for Nursing, Chief Nursing Officer, and Director of Nursing Research at Cedars-Sinai, has been a role model for me in the nursing arena. I am in awe with her accomplishment on a national level. Each year when I attend that NBNA national conference, I am energized to see the sea of nurses of color making a difference in the communities that we serve. On the local level, the members of PBNIA are my heroes and sheroes. Our chapter membership consists of nurses that were the first and/or only nurse of color in many of the various hospital and public health departments. One person that I would like to mention is Ms. Adena Davis RN, who was one of the first African American nurses to graduate from University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing. The university offers a scholarship in her honor. These individuals have motivated me reach for the heavens.

PUM:  What do you feel most proud about in terms of what you have been able to accomplish in your position?

Dr. Jones: The accomplishments that I am most proud of in my career are being the first African American nurse to be promoted within UPMC into a Chief Nursing Officer role. The reason that I am so proud of this accomplishment is because it gives other nurses of color hope. Hope that they too can accomplish their dreams. The other accomplishment that I am proud of is attaining my Doctorate degree. I hope that this accomplishment demonstrates to my children the importance of education.  Your education is something that you earn that no one can take away from you. I believe that we must celebrate and relish Black History month each and every day. 



 (photo credit: Carlow University)









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