Amber Graves
December 2018
Surgical Intermediate Unit
University of Virginia Health System
United States




We had a patient that had been in our unit for a few weeks. He was a complicated patient with metastatic cancer whose prognosis was not good. The day before, a float nurse had inadvertently told the patient that he needed to go home with hospice and that his prognosis wasn't good. This was the first time he had been told that. Before this happened, he had hope that his condition would improve. The doctors had been working to tell him that his condition was terminal.
Amber came in the next day after he had been given this news. The patient was distraught, anxious, and uncooperative, all of which were out of character for him. That day during rounds, Amber spoke up for him and said that the team needed to go talk to the patient and give him answers regarding his condition. Amber coordinated care with all the patient's teams: SICU, oncology, ortho/Spine, case management and social work to have a meeting with the patient in order to help him understand his prognosis. Amber sat with this patient and his wife while they cried and processed this devastating news. She stayed with the patient when his wife was overcome with emotion and had to leave. She held his hand as he cried. He told me that Amber was "his Angel".
Amber's compassion was truly beyond measure. She went out of her way to help the patient and support him with his new health diagnosis. Over the next few days, Amber helped the patient as he transitioned to a hospice unit.
As the nurse that precepted Amber, it was amazing to see how much she embodies the true meaning of being a nurse. She was so caring and compassionate and deserves to be recognized for all her hard work!