Graduate Eduardo Moreno: How NAU-Yuma prepared him to make health care available to all

Eduardo Moreno

When Eduardo Moreno started nursing school, the hits just kept coming. 

His first semester, his beloved grandmother died. Second semester, COVID hit, sending the NAU-Yuma student and all his peers into virtual learning. The third semester he spent time in the hospital, but not in the way you want to as a nursing student—he had appendicitis and had his appendix removed a week before finals. During his preceptorship, he dislocated his thumb and wasn’t sure he’d be able to finish.  

Spoiler alert: He’s walking across the stage at the Skydome on Friday in a cap and gown. Not only he did finish his preceptorship, during which he spent most of his shifts in the COVID-19 unit, he’s finishing nursing school as a Gold Axe winner and the career of his dreams in front of him, providing health care in his hometown for the people who don’t always have access to it. 

“One of the biggest struggles I’ve noticed is the exclusions to individuals in health care,” Moreno said. “My goal is to keep on studying to become a nurse practitioner and start my practice here in Yuma. I want to make health care efficient and affordable for those who lack the finances or resources to receive health care.” 

Moreno, who was born and raised in Yuma, has long seen the need for more accessible health care. When he visited family in Mexico, he saw how socioeconomic status or financial situation affected people’s ability to get adequate health care. One of his goals as a nurse, in fact, is to help nonprofit clinics in Mexico provide care to anyone who needs it, regardless of their ability to pay. 

“Nursing is the backbone of health care, and it will equip me with direct patient care, establishing nursing practice standards and developing quality care practices,” he said. 

Despite the rocky start and sometimes rocky middle, Moreno found his home in NAU-Yuma’s nursing program, which he chose for its accessibility and its reputation in the field. He dove into extracurricular activities; Moreno joined the National Association of Hispanic Nurses, the Science Club and the Student Nurses Association, eventually becoming president of the SNA. While leading the association, he advocated for a mentoring program for nursing students, including becoming a mentor himself, and created a website to provide resources and information on volunteer opportunities, fundraisers and externships.  

Being from Yuma, Moreno also wanted to give back to his hometown, so he volunteered. He worked at the Yuma Community Food Bank, Amberly’s Place Thrift Shoppe, which is a nonprofit that helps victims of abuse, and the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. His nursing public health practicum group volunteered at the Crossroads Missions First Step, a detox program helping individuals with substance abuse problems get clean. There, they completed an assessment to evaluate disparities in mental health and substance abuse issues in the city and created a pamphlet discussing these issues, the stigma behind mental illness and substance abuse and the resources available to the community. 

Jason Bradley, the program coordinator for NAU-Yuma’s nursing program and an assistant clinical professor, worked with Moreno throughout his collegiate career. 

“Eduardo has consistently been an active and visible member of the NAU-Yuma community and the School of Nursing,” he said. “He began engaging with NAU Nursing early in his time at Arizona Western College. He is soft-spoken, kind and compassionate and serves as a natural leader. He has been a stellar student and has a bright future as a critical care nurse and eventual nurse practitioner.” 

Eduardo MorenoLooking back on his education, many experiences stood out, but the highlight for Moreno is finishing amidst the challenges that hit him outside the classroom. And the pandemic made the “notoriously difficult” program much more difficult. Moreno and his classmates were in the hospital treating patients duringthe height of the pandemic. He saw people overwhelmed by the virus not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. That included him and his peers; he worried about getting infected and bringing the virus home to vulnerable family members.   

“It was challenging to be working with these patients and noticing how they were just not improving and some unfortunately dying,” he said. “I noticed the toll it took on nurses and the health care team. It was challenging because I joined the field to help improve the well-being of patients and provide quality care. It wasn’t easy to provide care to these suffering patients, but I continued to maintain hope and pray that they would survive.” 

But he finished and is graduating, though Moreno isn’t done with tests yet. He still has to take the NCLEX and hopes to work in the intensive care unit, where he’ll gain experience, then he wants to get a master’s degree, then a doctorate in nursing practice. He’s confident he’s up for the challenge thanks to the “astounding preparation” from NAU, he said; the faculty, classes and clinicals have given him the training and education he needs to succeed in his field. 

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Heidi Toth | NAU Communications
(928) 523-8737 |

NAU Communications