Education & Service 

Importance of being present

Northern Arizona University’s accessible faculty members and a real-world practicum propel Aarish Raza to a career in intensive care nursing.

Northern Arizona University nursing graduate and Distinguished Senior award recipient Aarish Raza believes success in learning and nursing is about being present and caring. He said the NAU faculty excels in those areas.

“They care. That makes a big difference in learning for me.”

Similarly, he finds nursing is as much about attention and concern as it is about clinical knowledge. Nurses must be present.

“Most of the time it’s just nurses there with the patients. Doctors get called in when things go wrong,” Aarish said. “But it’s nurses who are there for the long run. The care we provide is just as important as what the doctors do. We’re teachers, we’re nurses, we’re therapists in a way. We do everything, and that’s what I enjoy.”

Aarish’s journey to NAU began with his birth in Pakistan. He came to the United States as a toddler, and his family settled in Chinle, Arizona, with his father teaching in the Navajo Nation. Accustomed to red sandstone canyons and the high desert, the future nurse said the mountain environment first attracted him to NAU.

“When I came here and saw how green it was and the trees, I fell in love with the place

All the professors that I’ve worked with cared more about their students succeeding than anything else. That’s been one thing that I’ve really loved about NAU.

He considered other Arizona universities, but cool weather and the more intimate nature of NAU won him over.

“It’s a small school. It’s more of what I like since I came from a small town.”

Expecting his college professors to be rigid and strict, Aarish was pleased to learn that they have genuine concern for students.

“All the professors that I’ve worked with cared more about their students succeeding than anything else,” he said. “That’s been one thing that I’ve really loved about NAU.”

While finding class work indispensable, Aarish said the preceptorship in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program cemented his desire to become an intensive care nurse. Like an internship, a preceptorship bridges the passage from student to practitioner.

Aarish worked beside professionals at Flagstaff Medical Center, northern Arizona’s only Level 1 trauma center. Helping attend to a gunshot wound trauma left an indelible mark. He realized he could handle tough situations and remain calm and positive while working to save lives.

“For the first time, I felt like I was doing something that I actually felt extremely passionate about.”

Student photographers at the Grand Canyon.