Angie Golden’s nursing career has gone places, from helping patients in the Grand Canyon to testifying on Capitol Hill—and she credits her accomplishments to her nursing school experience at Northern Arizona University and the connections she made there.
NAU alumna Angie Golden has transported an infant out of the Grand Canyon by mule, jumped out of a helicopter to provide medical aid, and has been in people’s homes in their final moments of life. She’s worked untold hours as a nurse in intensive care units, emergency departments, and schools. She’s also taught college nursing students for 14 years at NAU and continued to mentor students after going into private practice as a nurse practitioner. Dr. Angie Golden is past president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and is a Doctor of Nursing Practice. She testified on health care policy before the US Senate, authored numerous peer-reviewed articles and chapters, and presented locally and internationally. Her many accomplishments earned her the President’s Alumni Award from NAU’s College of Health and Human Services in 2019.
“All because I went to nursing school,” she said. “No career has as many opportunities as nursing. There’s no profession where I could have done all of that. And I’m not done.”
A rewarding career supported by mentors and colleagues
While working on her Master of Science in Nursing in 1998, she quickly came to realize the program and faculty would help her reach her aspirations. She wanted the same for others. “I had great mentors immediately,” she said. “The faculty truly became colleagues. They were working and teaching. It was a lived experience. Because of the type of education I received, I wanted to be in Flagstaff.” Golden has exemplified that lived experience in her many roles on and off campus. From her office, located a stone’s throw from NAU’s main campus, she expresses her ironclad belief that her alma mater positively shapes students’ lives. “I have a very strong commitment to the program being successful and for people to be aware of what it offers.”
NAU spent the time to determine what is the best way to maintain the rigor of the program while also making it reasonable to accomplish.
She cites several examples of the university’s student-centric emphasis.
“NAU was the only state school that would allow me to build on my first master’s,” she said. “That’s an opportunity to look at what an individual has already done. But not a lot of nursing programs do that.”
Shaping the future of nursing
Golden credits NAU leaders for creating programs that serve students’ needs, such as
- a fast-track baccalaureate program for those who already have a bachelor’s and want to move into nursing or expand their existing career, and
- agreements with community colleges around the state to make a seamless transition from associate degree to bachelor’s degree.
“NAU spent the time to determine what is the best way to maintain the rigor of the program while also making it reasonable to accomplish,” she said. “That’s a unique way to think about how to get nurses into the workforce. That’s a strength in our School of Nursing. As an alum, it’s kept me committed to the School of Nursing and NAU.”
She said her master’s degree in nursing continues to serve her after more than four decades in the workforce. And she credits NAU with providing her the necessary expertise to head a national organization. “We do that because of the leadership skills we got in our program and our mentors who told us we could,” she said. The President’s Alumni Award “is as much about those people as it is about me. The connections we keep in our NAU alumni are really powerful opportunities for us to continue to move the profession forward.”