Nurse Knows a Smile Goes A Long Way

When she talks, Alyssa Rooke smiles and her whole face lights up. That smile has become her signature when she works at the bedside of her patients.

“Some people think I am laughing because I smile a lot and I’m almost always happy. I see the effect it has on others,” said Rooke, a graduate of Indiana Wesleyan who came to IU health two years ago. In addition to her smile, Rooke is known for going out of her way to comfort her patients. She once decorated a patient’s room with picturesque scenes of Colorado when a diagnosis resulted in him postponing his trip. She frequently delivers homemade cards to patients to help cheer them up.

Here’s more about Rooke:

When did you decide to become a nurse?

“I always knew I wanted to care for people but in high school when I did a job shadow, I realized nursing was for me. A school nurse at my high school was really dedicated to her profession and when I was in nursing school she sent me cards of encouragement and always had a listening ear.”

What do you like best about nursing?

“I love the people the best. Every patient is so different and since I’m so young I love to hear their stories and learn from their wisdom. When I get my assignments in the morning I don’t know what adventure I’ll have that day but it’s always fun.”

What makes you a good nurse?  

“I feel like I’m always trying to improve. I try to take every opportunity a learning opportunity.”

What advice would you give to someone in nursing school?

“Take time to be in the moment and not worry so much about the school. It is important. Academics are important but you learn by soaking it all in.”

What are some things few people know about you?

“I was one of 16 in my high school graduating class at Horizon Christian High School. In my youth I was very involved in 4-H. I love to bake. I learned to bake pies from my grandma and my mom taught me the rest. I like to bring cookies and brownies to my co-workers.”  

How do you relax and unwind?

“I love to travel. I just got back from a trip to Israel and it was a dream. I’ve been to London, Africa and went to Haiti on a medical mission trip. My dream is to one day pursue a career in medical missions.”

— By T.J. Banes, Associate Senior Journalist at IU Health.
   Reach Banes via email at
 T.J. Banes or on Twitter @tjbanes.