A local geriatric nurse practitioner holds a rare honor in the medical field, not only for the city of Texarkana but for the entire state of Texas.
Leasa Roach, who works at Hospice of Texarkana, was recently recognized by the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association as being one of 95 nurses in Texas to hold the title of Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative nurse, according to the organization's website.
Roach, a 1985 graduate of Texarkana College, as well as the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, has been with Hospice of Texarkana since 1998.
She received this certification from HPNA, which offers various levels of certifications to nurses, in 2008 and has held it ever since.
Roach had already received board certification as a nurse practitioner for hospice care before going through rigorous testing to achieve this level of advanced expertise in her field.
She said she started off her career as a nurse and in home health, but ultimately felt like hospice care was her calling.
"After working in nursing for about three years, I started doing home health and enjoyed it tremendously for 10 years, before moving to hospice care," Roach said. "When I was in home health care, I worked with a lot of patients who were seriously ill or even dying, but I didn't have a good understanding of hospice. I then had some personal occurrences, when my sister (in-law) died after having breast cancer. I helped care for her, and it just made me start thinking about other opportunities."
Roach had a connection with the director of Hospice of Texarkana and used that as a way to fulfill her motivation to work in hospice care.
"For me, I just feel like it was God directing a path," she said. "As I look back, I can sure see how He took me through certain things and landed me where I am now in hospice care. And the more I get in hospice, the more I feel like I could really make a difference."
Roach said she sees the recognition as a reflection of her dedication and her workplace's success.
"I love the organization I work for and I love the people I get to work with. It's a blessing," she said. "I'm humbled that I get to do it. I'm humbled that I get to have it. I do think it reflects my time and expertise in the field, but I also don't think it's in any way reflective that I'm better than anybody else. It just feels good when you're recognized."