Nursing Value: Respect
Amber Harkey, BSN, RN, CPN: Treating patients as if they were her own.
Nursing value: Respect
Amber Harkey, BSN, RN, CPN, has a special connection with the moms of the patients she treats. For Amber, being away from her own kids is a challenge, but when a mom hugs her at the end of a shift, it is all worth it. “There are times when a mom will cry and tell me she really needed me that day, and that’s when I’m reminded I’m exactly where I need to be,” Amber said.
One mom, in particular, left a mark on Amber. The patient has come in several times throughout the years; the first when she was just a baby with a fever.
“We all had more questions than answers, and the mom didn’t speak English. I was still in the process of learning Spanish so the conversations we had were very small, but we were still able to communicate and connect. They were scared and tired and it felt so good to be able to love on their daughter and hug the mom,” said Amber. “The child did get a very hard diagnosis and we have seen each other several times, but each time it has been bittersweet because we get to see milestones she is meeting. It’s hard to see someone walk through something so hard, like a life-changing diagnosis for their child. But just something as simple as offering them a cup of coffee and being available for the broken small conversations really helped them, too. She holds a special place in my heart.”
Amber has worked on the respiratory and infectious disease floor for seven years. She cares for patients with cystic fibrosis and says she gets to know all about their lives and families. She says the most rewarding part is sending kids home after helping them through a particularly rough time, such as the babies with RSV.
“It’s a complete 180 for those babies,” Amber said. “The moms are also in a much better state.”
Amber says she has an incredibly close team with a blend of people who have worked at the hospital for three to 20 years and bring different experiences to the group. Some have worked in the Hematology and Oncology Center and are well-versed in central lines and ports, while others have experience in IVs or catheters.
“I love my team and my manager is awesome. We support each other outside of work relating to maternity leave, financial burdens, and being a parent, and we all share our struggles. It helps us work really well together. We know what each other’s tones of voice mean and can tell when someone needs help."