Gwen Moriarty knew she wanted to work in healthcare from a young age. Growing up with a sick parent, she saw first-hand the difference nurses made in peoples’ lives. She first earned a degree in public health before realizing her longing for the person-to-person experience she witnessed as a child. She then began the College of Nursing and Health Professions’ accelerated career entry BSN program, allowing her to earn her BSN in just 11 months.
One of the themes of Moriarty’s undergraduate thesis was health disparities. Her research made her sensitive to the plight of underserved populations, particularly non-native English speakers who have difficulty finding medical providers with whom they can easily communicate. “Having proper access to certain services and making sure you can go to people that speak your language is so important.”
After moving to Philadelphia, she began volunteering at Puentes de Salud, a non-profit healthcare facility catering to the Latinx immigrant community. In her role, she uses her knowledge of medical Spanish she learned while studying abroad in Cuba to help patients. “I’m able to use the Spanish that I know to talk to the patients in their own language about assessments, intakes and vitals. It’s a really great opportunity, and I’m so glad I found it.”
“Working at Puentes made me realize that nursing is not only about the individual, but about the community-at-large, as well,” she said. One of her duties is to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. “Getting vaccines to a community who doesn’t necessarily have access to them but is a demographic that needs them is so satisfying.”