Cooper University Health Care took time to recognize dozens of its nurses for their dedication to the profession during National Nurses Week earlier this month.
Among awards from the hospital were the 2021 Nurse of the Year to Washington Township resident Elizabeth “Lisa” Moriarty.
“I love being a nurse. I always have. It is a hard job but it is also very rewarding,” she said. “I think after being a nurse for so many years, I still love my job so much because every day is a new day. I learn something every single day that I am working.”
Moriarty has been a nurse for over 38 years and has spent time at hospitals in Philadelphia; her last 15 years have been at Cooper. Not only has Moriarty been a medical surgical nurse there, she also has dedicated her time as leader of the Unit Based Council for her fellow nurses and the Nursing Excellence Council. Both entities foster a healthy practice environment for nurses in Moriarty’s unit and a positive work environment for both nurses and patients at Cooper.
After receiving the Selma and Martin Hirsch Award for Excellence in Medical Surgical Nursing in May, Moriarty was automatically placed in the running for nurse of the year. To be eligible, Moriarty exemplified compassion and confidence at patient bedsides, is a team player and advocates for patients and families while also leading and mentoring her peers.
“[Moriarty] is always willing and finds a way to support anything we do to try and improve nursing here at Cooper,” said Shannon Patel, assistant vice president of Nursing Quality, Practice and Innovation. “She seems to be always giving up her time and expertise and her patience and kindness to all sorts of volunteer activities. She is always excited and inspired to get things going. She has been in it for many years and she still has the same passion and excitement that a new nurse would have.”
In the last year, Moriarty was on the front lines of the pandemic when her Orthopedic Neurology unit was transformed into the first COVID patient wing. She noted that nothing could prepare nurses for the pandemic they were all about to face.
“In the beginning, it seemed to be nerve-racking in a way, a lot of anxieties around coming into work and worrying about what area you might be working in,” Moriarty recalled. “The very first day I was there, I was in charge, and I was a little nervous. I just wanted to make sure everything was right and all the personal protective equipment was in place.”
Not only has Moriarty excelled in her career as a nurse, but she also volunteers in her community with the nonprofit Lauren Rose Albert Foundation. She was a personal friend of Albert, and when the foundation was started to honor her, Moriarty wanted to help. The group is best known for the beautiful baskets it creates for mothers going through difficult times.
Moriarty is prepared to continue her work at Cooper as elective surgeries start again and the rollout of COVID vaccines continues.