"I walked out and I thought, 'Man, we have to make him feel more at home,'" she told ABC's New York station WABC. "So how about a date night?"
Knight and a chaplain spoke to the man's spouse and then surprised him with food from a restaurant the couple liked, music and decorations for the perfect date night. She told ABC News that seeing him happy brought tears to her eyes.
"He’s a great person, and I couldn't have been happier to give that to him while he’s in the hospital," she told ABC News.
The project has since swelled to include other nurses in her department, and they've pulled together their own money to surprise five patients since August.
The lucky recipients only have positive reviews for the makeshift restaurants. Knight said she sees a lot of "grown men" cry.
Meg Pearse, whose husband was battling lymphoma, said the date helped them feel like they were normal, cancer-free people again.
"It was just quiet time for us to sit and talk over dinner, which we hadn't done, and forget about what had just happened for three weeks," she told WABC.