Former Navy Nurse Now Philly Health and Medicine Broadcast Journalist
June 2, 2014 - Ali Gorman (NHS’97) is following a similar path to Norah O’Donnell (C’95, G’03) and Savannah Guthrie (L’01) as she reports on health and medicine for 6abc Action News in Philadelphia.
The former Navy nurse and School of Nursing & Health Studies graduate works for a station that serves the city and its surrounding communities.
Gorman says her current career feels like an extension of her work as a nurse.
“My favorite part of being a nurse was talking to patients and families and teaching them things they can do to manage an illness at home or to just take better care of themselves or their family,” says Gorman, who went on to complete a master’s degree at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. “I am doing the same in my nightly reports – just with a bigger audience.”
Paying Her Dues
After Georgetown, Gorman practiced as a full-time nurse for five years, four of which she spent as a Nurse Corps Officer in the U.S. Navy.
“When I got out of the Navy, I wanted to pursue a new challenge,” she says. “I always liked the television news health reports, and I was looking for something that gave me the opportunity to be a bit more creative.”
Her first on-air reporting position was in Lansing, Michigan. She then worked in Jacksonville, Florida, before moving to Philadelphia.
“I now work for the station I grew up watching,” says the southern New Jersey native. “Like any business, I had to pay my dues, but I loved it. … Along with health stories, I also covered general news to get experience – stories that involved crime, fire, and natural disaster. It was an incredible learning experience.”
Best of Both Worlds
Gorman says her experience as a nurse helps her share health information with the public.
“My background as a nurse also helps me understand medical information quickly,” she says. “My journalism education taught me to take large amounts of information, figure out what is most important, and put it into a format everyone can understand.”
One of her most fulfilling stories, she says, combined both skills.
“A few years ago I had the opportunity to go to Haiti on a medical mission,” she says. “I took care of patients while also reporting from the clinic. For me, it was the best of both worlds.”
Value of Empathy
She also says her professors at Georgetown stressed the importance of “clear and kind” communication.
“They also taught the value of empathy,” she says. “Both are huge assets to have when reporting on health topics, which can be very personal. In order to do my job well, people have to feel comfortable opening up to me and sharing their personal struggles.”
She says she would love go back to Georgetown and “relive all the memories again” if she could.
“Find your passion and chase it, no matter how long it takes,” she advises current students. “It might be working with kids or seniors or it could be in health promotion or policy. An education in nursing from Georgetown opens so many doors.”