Recently, I had a family member admitted into SICU for what we thought would be a fairly (as much as can be) common heart valve replacement. It actually turned out to be a challenging rollercoaster ride of unexpected twists and turns. After a day of two open heart surgeries and setbacks, Amber came in as our nurse and brought with her a calm presence. She took the time and explained what was happening and what to expect. She wanted to be sure everyone understood in layman terms and did so without ever sounding condescending. Amber was extremely patient and understanding. Amber jumped right in and never skipped a beat in her care. The following day my cousin developed a fever and then it seemed to be one thing after another. Amber listened and she advocated for us when we felt unheard by her physician at times. She asked the questions that we wanted to ask, and she listened when we needed her to listen to us.
Speaking up when you know it’s the right thing to do takes courage and gumption, especially when you are new to nursing and just starting your career. This is a complex situation everyone faces within the current healthcare climate and it takes guts. She was compassionate and tender with my cousin in all aspects of caring for her from her tone of voice to her touch. Amber knew that C would never know, nor remember, what occurred during those difficult days, she still remained gentle in her approach. Integrity shows the most when no one is watching. Over the next few days, we had neuro, nephron and infectious disease concerns. They thought for over a day and a half that she might never wake up, but Amber never let us lose hope. It was up and down, but the one thing that remained consistent was Amber’s presence of calm, and her wealth of clinical knowledge that she shared. She took the time to teach C’s (grown) children what each medicine was for, what each vital sign meant, and what the vent levels showed. She made sure they had the right level of knowledge, so they did not feel intimidated by all the machines. She let them hold her hand when scared and she let them have time alone to cry too. On Amber’s next shift she was working on the 4th floor, but on her breaks, she would come and check on us. She made sure we knew we mattered to her. So not only did she have excellent clinical knowledge, she had true compassion. She demonstrated integrity, compassion, justice, dignity, and excellence all with a true servant’s heart