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 here.
NAU alumna Dr. Angie Golden is past president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and is a Doctor of Nursing Practice. She has testified on healthcare policy before the US Senate, authored numerous peer-reviewed articles and chapters, and presented at local and international conferences. She’s transported an infant out of the Grand Canyon by mule, jumped out of a helicopter to provide medical aid, and helped people through their final moments. She’s worked untold hours as a nurse in every possible setting. She also taught nursing students at NAU for 14 years, and continued to mentor students after transitioning into private practice as a nurse practitioner. 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 were helping her reach her goals. 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 the best way to maintain the rigor of the program would be, while also making it reasonable to accomplish.
She cites several examples of the university’s student-centric philosophy. “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 the best way to maintain the rigor of the program would be, 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 credits NAU for providing her with the necessary expertise to lead 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 [the people who got me here] 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.”