Q&A with Molly McHugh, MBE, BSN, RN

from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

Q: How long have you been a GSA member?

A: I've been a member of GSA since I began my PhD program in 2020.

Q: How specifically has membership in GSA benefitted you?

A: GSA membership has encouraged me to expand my professional network by attending the Annual Scientific Meeting and volunteering in the Emerging Scholar and Professional Organization (ESPO). Attending the Annual Scientific Meeting as a student has been critical in understanding how to disseminate and present research. Volunteering in ESPO has broadened my network and allowed me to meet other scholars in gerontology across the country.

Q: How did you get interested in the field of aging?

A: As a travel nurse working during the COVID-19 pandemic, I was struck by the social conditions that influenced the intersection of aging and health. Now, my clinical experiences as a nurse have highly influenced my research on aging, specifically my interest in caregivers of older adults.

Q: What projects are you working on in your current position?

A: In my PhD program, I support the Transitional Care Model work led by my mentorship team of Drs. Mary Naylor and Karen Hirschman. My dissertation research explores caregiver social engagement's effect on the relationship between caregiver intensity and caregiver burden in caregivers of older adults.

Q: What do you love most about your line of work?

A: The element of my research that I most enjoy is its potential for broad impact! Caregiving is a universal experience, so this work has an incredible opportunity for growth and influence.

Q: What was the best piece of advice you got early on in your career you’d like to pass on to emerging gerontologists?

A: The best piece of advice I received early in my career is that the patient knows best! In my research, I try to focus on science that benefits the needs directly expressed by patients and caregivers.