CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – Of course, in a pandemic, many of the nominees for our Remarkable Women Contest this year were healthcare heroes and essential workers. It makes sense given the fact that they’re saving lives and helping us all through this difficult time.

Amber Egyud is the chief nursing and operating officer at Chesapeake Regional Medical Center. During COVID-19, she’s served as the incident commander, too. And there were numerous people who let 10 On You Side know about her kind heart and compassionate leadership from the moment we said “Tell us about remarkable women in your lives.”

Licensed as a nurse for 26 years, Egyud says it’s all she ever wanted to be. After working in healthcare for 31 years, there’s never been a more challenging time.

“I’m honored,” said Egyud when she found out she was nominated for the Remarkable Women Contest. “I was really shocked and surprised that I was nominated. In my role, I’m largely responsible for looking at and ensuring the safe operations of the organization in regard to patient care and medical outcomes. When I started in healthcare 31 years ago, I never gave a second thought whether I was going to have gloves or gowns or medications or face masks to take care of patients. The pandemic has disrupted every aspect of life and healthcare demanding us to be resilient, innovative, flexible. It’s been a constant maneuvering of many parts and pieces and as a leader, I’ve been challenged in ways that are almost surreal. That would have been unimaginable pre-pandemic.”

But everyone who contacted us said that although they don’t know how she handles all that’s on her plate, Egyud remains committed to her employees, patients and family at home. Her countless hours dedicated to stopping the spread of COVID-19 — and even before now working to ensure that everyone in Hampton Roads is safe — have served as an inspiration to all. Just ask her daughter-in-law.

“She is a lover and a healer at her core,” said Erin Frazier. “That is just who she is. You can’t shake that and that radiates from her. I’m actually 18 weeks pregnant and I’m overwhelmed just because that’s crazy. Like I can’t even wrap my head around what it takes to be able to do that.”

“Whether I was at the bedside, or teaching in a classroom, or in my current position in administration, the passion for making care better in that exchange at the bedside between a care provider and a patient and elevating the standards of my profession has never changed,” said Egyud. “The people around me are what inspire me. So both in my personal life, my family, my friends, my colleagues here at Chesapeake, I’m so blessed to be surrounded by remarkable people who make me want to be better every day.”

She says as a nurse, you have the privilege of being a visitor in people’s life to care for them along the way. But it’s clear that along her life’s journey, it’s not just what she does, but who she is, that’s made her a hero to everyone in her path.

Egyud says healthcare heroes are battle-worn right now. In her role, she’s helped to create what are called “Me15” rooms at the hospital for workers where they can take a mental break and even get a massage. She was also instrumental in making sure her employees had daily counseling available, as well as someone walking rounds to offer mindful meditation during this heavy assignment that they face.

We’re so grateful for the important roles Egyud plays in caring for them and us.