Andrew Bober, BSN, RN, makes it his mission to establish a meaningful connection with every patient he cares for.

Nominated by Catherine Rumble, MS, RN, nurse director; with letters of support from Allison Bell, MSN, RN, clinical nurse educator, ICU Float Pool; and Breanne Ragusa, BSN, RN, clinical nurse, Telemetry Float Pool

It can be challenging for Float Pool nurses to establish a meaningful connection with a patient or family member when care is rarely provided for the same patient two days in a row. But Andrew Bober, BSN, RN, a clinical nurse in the ICU Float Pool, makes it his mission.

“Andrew has the ability to form lasting relationships with patients and families during the most difficult and fragile time in their lives,” wrote Allison Bell, MSN, RN, Float Pool clinical nurse educator.

For his authentic leadership, compassion, devotion to relationship-based care and unique ability to create connections quickly, Bober was selected as this year’s Essence of Nursing Award recipient – the highest honor given to clinical nurses at BWH. In his narrative, Bober reflects on a particular patient experience that, for him, illustrates the true meaning of relationship-based care.

He had been caring for a critically ill woman on the surge pod while she was waiting for an inpatient bed to open up. During this time, Bober got to know the patient and her husband, who shared stories of their life together. When the bed was available, Bober transferred the patient with her husband to the ICU. After giving the new care team a detailed report, Bober stopped by the waiting room to say goodbye to her husband. At that moment, they heard an overhead announcement for a code, and together they went back to the unit where the patient they had just transferred had stopped breathing.

Bober stayed by the husband’s side, answering his questions and helping him understand what was happening. “There were plenty of experienced staff working to stabilize her,” said Bober. “He needed me.”

Once the husband realized the team had done all they could to save her life, he told them it was okay to stop. After kissing his wife on the forehead, he thanked everyone in the room for their heroic efforts to save his wife and thanked Bober personally for the way he had cared for his wife that day.

Looking back on this experience, Bober notes the amazing support BWH nurses provide one another. “That day I did not need to ask for help with my other patients or this woman. My fellow nurses just knew that I needed help and stepped up to the plate.”

Elazer Edelman, MD, PhD, of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, who was the attending on the unit that day, describes how Bober “epitomizes the best of Brigham nursing and the best of the nursing profession, and on this day he rose above us all.”

Edelman continued: “What set his actions on this day apart is that he stayed with this woman on transfer to the ICU in the midst of her decline, prolonged resuscitation and ultimate demise – sitting, holding the hand of her husband, explaining to him in the most empathetic way what was happening and what to expect. At that moment, Andrew was the MOST important clinician in the room of more than twenty people trying to save this woman.”

Added Cathy Rumble, MS, RN, Bober’s nurse director and nominator: “In a very busy and chaotic time like this, it can be easy to remain solely focused on the patient and the critical event. But Andrew knew that caring for this husband was as important as caring for the patient.”

Bober is equally supportive to his colleagues as he is to his patients and their families, as Breanne Ragusa, BSN, RN, a fellow Float Pool nurse, describes.

Mr. Saul Kurlat has established an endowment to ensure the Essence of Nursing Award in perpetuity. He is pictured above with Andrew Bober.

“As a newly licensed nurse, I remember being so nervous the first time I had a patient that I needed to call a rapid response for. Andrew happened to be the STAT nurse that day,” said Ragusa, who has worked with Bober for seven years. Feeling rattled and overwhelmed, Ragusa remembers Bober telling her to take a deep breath and that everything was going to be okay. “Not only did he help ease my anxiety in a high-stress situation, but he was also helping to calm the patient’s wife and explain to her what was going on.”

Bober often takes the role of STAT nurse as part of an interprofessional rapid response team, responding to non-ICU patients whose conditions are deteriorating. The team gathers at the patient’s bedside to do a prompt assessment, deliver immediate care if needed and take steps to prevent further deterioration.

Ragusa recalls another situation where Bober, as the STAT nurse, helped her provide the best care for a patient who had begun to have trouble seeing. Bober was already on Ragusa’s floor when she called him in for advice. The patient’s blood pressure was very elevated so they called a rapid response. When the team came in to do the assessment, Bober said he thought the patient needed a head CT scan. The rest of the team agreed and swiftly took the patient to the CT imaging room. When the patient returned to her room, her symptoms were improved and the patient asked Ragusa if she could talk to Bober. Ragusa heard the patient tell Bober how thankful she was for his calming presence during this frightening experience.

Bober has worked as an ICU Float Pool nurse since he started at BWH in 2006. He met his wife, Danielle, an ICU nurse, at the Brigham. Bober received his BSN from Quinnipiac University. As a result of receiving this award, he will follow through on a promise to his wife to return to school.