Supporting patients during their most vulnerable time

Tuesday, October 17, 2023
Image of Ariel Roche

Ariel Roche, MSN AGACNP '23G 

A Chicago native with 14 years of nursing experience, Ariel Roche is a first-generation college graduate. With the same fortitude of a nurse relative who became a female admiral in the U.S. Navy., she is forging her career path, sustained by a steady passion to bring skilled comfort to those in need.

Roche has worked in a professional capacity in multiple hospital settings, including Mount Sinai Medical Center and Rush Copley Medical Center in Illinois and Methodist Dallas Medical Center Level I Trauma Unit in Texas. In New Hampshire, she worked with both Huggins Hospital in Wolfeboro and Speare Hospital in Plymouth but is looking forward to starting a new position as a trauma surgery nurse practitioner at Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine.

With a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Aurora University in Illinois, Roche initially enrolled in the MSN program at Lewis University but a move to New Hampshire necessitated a shift in her academic path. Deciding between several options, she says she was pleased by the quick response from the UNH nursing department and impressed by the stress-free process of transferring into its online MSN program with a concentration as an adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner (AGACNP).

"Within three weeks I had a plan of study and my first clinical placement mapped out. It fit like a well-chosen puzzle piece, allowing me to weave study times into my schedule and to keep my life in balance. I cannot thank UNH enough for their support and flexibility," Roche says.

Roche speaks highly of her clinical preceptors, who not only provided experienced, constructive feedback but represented role models of excellence. Their range of specialties enhanced her solid foundation in nursing as she earned clinical hours with Portsmouth Regional Hospital in neurology and intensive care, Concord Hospital in pulmonary and critical care and with the hospitalist team at Exeter Hospital. Roche endorses them all with warm enthusiasm. “I loved every hour of it,” she says.

With an eye to the patient’s well-being, Roche voices concern about the current emphasis on crisis care to the detriment of preventive medicine. Her long-term dream is to earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and leverage the required quality-improvement project to dig into research on preventing a patient’s hospitalization reoccurrence.

"Health literacy is the key to managing the post-traumatic stress that follows an acute care experience. I would welcome an opportunity to be part of an ICU follow-up clinic charged with helping patients understand their treatment plan and learn the tools to manage their long-term health outcomes," she says.

One thing Roche takes particular pride in as an acute care nurse practitioner is a well-honed intuition that allows her to put her finger on the pulse of individual patient needs. She cites the example of a cardiac patient whose family faced the unlikely hope of survival with a deeply rooted religious faith. Inspired by their circle of support, Roche held her cell phone to the unconscious patient’s ear to let her listen to gospel music. She subsequently witnessed the patient sitting up and waving to the ICU nurse who provided critical comfort during a life crisis.

Following a “lot of sad” as a hospital trauma nurse during the COVID crisis, Roche re-energized her interest in the field by enrolling with the online UNH nursing program and certifying as an acute care nurse practitioner.

Her deep-seated passion for the field is evident when Roche talks about her cherished dream of joining the American Red Cross to put her skills to work caring for injured patients in disaster zones. Roche's priority is always the patient who needs her professional skills and compassion during their darkest moments.