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New Face: Aaron Bellow Jr.

This professor says being able to positively impact people’s lives makes nursing a satisfying career choice.

People  |  Oct 16, 2017  |  By Kevin Dunegan
Portrait of Aaron A. Bellow Jr.

Aaron A. Bellow Jr., Assistant Professor of Nursing (Josh Hawkins/UNLV Creative Services)

At a young age, Aaron Bellow Jr. had a fascination for the health care professionals who helped trauma patients, especially the paramedics who treated victims of traffic collisions near his home. Those people inspired him to become a nurse in the emergency room.

Why UNLV?

I chose UNLV School of Nursing because of the support and resources they offer new faculty. I was also drawn here because of the faculty-in-residence role that allows me, as a clinician, to maintain my clinical practice while becoming acclimated to my new faculty role. I have been very pleased with all the offers of assistance I have gotten within my department and throughout the university community as a whole. And I was drawn to the university’s Top Tier initiative because it lets me know that I will have plenty of opportunities to grow in my role as a faculty member and to advance my academic career.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana. It is a small town approximately 30 minutes from the border of Texas and Louisiana, near the Gulf of Mexico. It is a nice blend of Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana. Hurricane season sucks, but the seafood and culture are awesome.

What’s the biggest misconception about your field?

The biggest misconception about nursing is that it is a woman’s profession. While nurses are predominantly women, many men choose a nursing career. I have never regretted my choice. Nursing enables me to provide for my family, make a difference in the lives of my patients, and make a positive contribution to my community, all of which are very satisfying for me.

What’s the biggest challenge in your field?

The biggest challenge we face in nursing is keeping up with the demand for qualified providers in all health care professions, which is another reason I chose to join the School of Nursing. I’ll be able to help prepare the next generation of nursing professionals. 

What inspired you to get into your field?

As a little boy growing up in my small town, I was literally an ambulance chaser. I would follow them on my bicycle to watch the paramedics work on crash victims at the intersection near my house. Their work inspired me to pursue emergency nursing.

Proudest moment in your life (so far)?

My wife and I birthed our two children at home. The two of us and a certified nurse midwife were able to welcome them into the world within our home and on our own terms (mostly — it’s a long story. You can ask me about it some day).

Describe a time during which you were daring.

I am a natural risk taker — you have to be in order to achieve success and pursue your ambitions. My most recent daring moment was moving across the country to Las Vegas for a new job. That was two years ago. My family and I wound up loving it here and decided to make it home.

One tip for success?

Prepare! Success is not inevitable and does not just happen.

If you could fix one thing in the world, what would it be?

I would wipe out racism. Racism is rooted in ignorance, the lack of exposure to people who are different, and an absence of compassion and empathy for others. I try to change that daily through education and exposure, and by going out and being myself in places where you would not traditionally find a person like me.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I am not bald. I choose to shave my head. I actually have a full head of hair, at least the last time I checked.

Who was your favorite professor and why?

Dr. Miguel Da Cuna, who was my pathophysiology instructor during my nurse practitioner program. I loved his simplistic view of things and his ability to take complex material and make it accessible in a way that was not intimidating. When you encounter a professor like that, you feel as if you could learn anything, no matter how complex, your confidence increases, and eventually you make that feeling a reality.

What can’t you work without?

Resources make the difference for me. I have plenty of ideas, an intense work ethic, and strong desire to succeed. In spite of all of that, I have found myself in situations where the resources simply did not exist for me to achieve my goals. I always moved on from those places because I felt stifled.

Finish this sentence, “If I couldn’t work in my current field, I would like to . . .”

Be an entrepreneur. Business ownership has always interested me. There are many nurse entrepreneurs, so the two are not mutually exclusive. I dabble now and then in how to successfully combine the two.

Tell us about an object in your office that has special significance for you and why.

My wife bought me a peace lily plant because she knows I like having something “living” in my workspace. I look forward to going into the office to check on “Lilly.”

Who is your hero?

My mom and dad are my heroes. They had a 6th and 7th grade education respectively and raised 10 kids. They made sure we had the best primary education they could afford, and that we were able to take advantage of the opportunities we were given to succeed in life. I know what a daunting task that was, the amount of selflessness and sacrifices that took, and I am forever grateful.

Pastimes or hobbies?

I like being in nature. I enjoy short runs, swimming, and hiking. I am not particularly good at those activities, but the fact that I can do them outdoors makes me not care about how bad I might be at them.