The VGH CCU team remembers nursing unit clerk Donna Rose for her kindness and indomitable spirit.

Our unsung hero: a tribute to Donna Rose

Donna Rose was an extraordinary woman. She gave freely of her heart and her spirit to her family – her beloved son and grandson – and to her Cardiac Care Unit (CCU) family at VGH.

Now the CCU family is feeling the pain of losing our matriarch.

Donna – who was our rock – passed away unexpectedly and quietly in her home on March 21.

She cared for all of us. When we needed it, she’d give us a nudge to make sure we acted as part of the family, cleaned up our messes and did the right thing for our patients – and she inspired us to care for each other.

“She ran a tight ship” 

At work, we often discuss how we can help people feel engaged on the job. Donna taught us that engagement lives in the things we do and the ways we support each other.

As a nursing unit clerk, she ran a tight ship and took pride in what she did. She was the first face you saw when you entered the unit and the last you saw when you left. If a patient or family needed something, she would make a call immediately.

She maintained a staff donation fund and she ensured that each colleague’s key life events were acknowledged – an engagement, a new baby, a birthday or a personal sorrow. In her unique way, she shared with us that it wasn’t always about the work we do or the challenges we face, but the lives we live and the moments we share together.

“We will miss her immensely!”

She was a fearless woman who always laughed loudly, shared generously, recycled religiously, loved wholeheartedly, and more importantly – lived honestly.

Donna will be remembered as easygoing, patient, kind, and always smiling. She had a touch of sarcasm and a fabulous sense of humour. As one of her colleagues said, “She didn’t take any crap but would do anything for anyone.” Though sometimes described as “crusty with an edge,” she was unanimously loved and described as the most caring and thoughtful person you would ever meet.

She was a hard worker with indomitable spirit and we will miss her immensely!

Our unsung hero 

Donna was not only a pillar of strength, she was our unsung hero.

In 2017, she was awarded the Cardiac Sciences annual Unsung Hero Award, which recognizes someone who goes above and beyond – not seeking recognition or praise – but, because it’s just the right thing to do.  That is the sort of person Donna was, not only to her CCU family, but also to many others.

Donna began working at VGH in 1987 and for over 30 years she dedicated herself to the service of others. While she did not start her working career at VGH with CCU, she was a part of our lives for so many years; it is hard to imagine our world without her in it.

Devoted to her family

Her son and grandson were at the centre of her life. Donna beamed with pride whenever she spoke of her grandson, Isaiah. Her love for her family was ever present.

Her son Jamie – of whom she was very proud – shared that Donna often spoke of her friends and colleagues, saying how much she loved her job and how the CCU was a second family to her.

Honouring Donna

The CCU team would like to extend our heartfelt sympathy to Donna’s family and friends – especially her son Jamie and her grandson Isaiah.

A celebration of Donna’s life is being planned by her CCU family and will be held in the next four weeks.

If you have a story or a message, please share a note with Mary Neiforth, Operations Director, Cardiac Sciences Mary.Nieforth@vch.ca or Nancy Sweetapple, Patient Services Manager, Cardiac Sciences Nancy.Sweetapple@vch.ca.

One comment

  1. Jaimie Rose says:

    Thank you so much for this. Of course, my Mom would have hated the attention.

    I am in awe of all the support my mom had and how many people appreciated her.

Leave a Reply