Meet Nursing Hero Donna Kuipers

Donna Kuipers,

UBC Centre for Brain Health

Vancouver Coastal Health

Donna Kuipers is my nursing hero. I have had the privilege to work with her since I was a resident in the neurology Program at the University of British Columbia (UBC).  When I was a resident, she was in one of the Emergency Nurses at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH).  I remember coming down to the emergency room at all times of the day and night and already noticing that Donna was a leader in her field.  She would always be helpful (yet stern, in a kind way) with all of the trainees.  She had an extremely high standard towards patient care.  I interacted with her multiple times during my 5 years of residency, and during that time she was always kind, compassionate, hardworking and dedicated towards her patient’s, staff and colleagues.

Our paths diverged after I graduated from Residency, but then, unexpectedly Donna re-entered my professional life.  About two years ago, she became the clinical nurse leader at the UBC Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Clinic at the centre for brain health.  By this I was already 8 years into practice as a sub-specialty trained neurologist.  Words cannot do justice to how much Donna’s contribution to our clinic was beyond helpful.  When she came to the clinic, we had 11,000 patients with no nursing leadership and in general there was feeling overwhelm and lack of organization of nursing care at the clinic.  Donna, in her leadership role was able to restructure our clinic, in the best way possible for patient care.  Not only has she groomed a team of excellent nurses who now look after our patients alongside with the six neurologists who work at the MS clinic, she has developed many clinic initiatives such as safety checks in place to ensure that our patients on disease modifying therapies are getting appropriate monitoring and timely access to necessary treatment. Donna plays a vital role in contributing to the health, safety and best practices management strategies for our patients with multiple sclerosis and other neuro-inflammatory diseases. And our patients are some of the most complex patients in the practice of Neurology!

Because of her dedication, efficiency, initiative and caring, I invited her to come with me to Whitehorse, Yukon in order to assist in translating some of the nursing practices we had established at the UBC MS Clinic to Yukon medical professionals as I am in the process of developing an MS program there.  Her leadership has been paramount in training our nurses in the Yukon as well. And even after the fact, she has extended herself to providing ongoing support and assistance to any staff in need, even after her job has been done. She is truly exceptional.

Donna is always available to help, bears the best interest of all whom she interacts with to heart, and devotes herself to the highest standard of professionalism, nursing practice patient care.


In addition, some other highlights of her nursing/professional career include the following:

She worked for the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANCO) as the Assistant Manager for a Poly health clinic in Whistler. During this time, she set up the medical and nursing clinic for the athletes during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. She has also worked as a Regional Clinical Educator for Vancouver Coastal Health, and she lectured for one semester at Langara College, teaching her craft to future Nursing students. She is dedicated to passing on her knowledge to colleagues and trainees.


Now as the coronavirus pandemic has hit our country, she will continue in her nursing leadership role at the UBC MS Clinic but at the same time has volunteered go back to the ER as a frontline worker amidst this health crisis we are facing.

I have never met and Nurse as dedicated as Donna and I hope you consider her for the 2020 Nursing Hero award.  Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.



Dr. Ana-Luiza Sayao