October 14, 2010

Williams remembered for the many lives she touched

Featured Image

Donna Williams, M.S.N., R.N.

Williams remembered for the many lives she touched

Donna Williams, M.S.N., R.N., a nursing administrator at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, died Oct. 7.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 24, in Benton Chapel at Vanderbilt Divinity School.

Mrs. Williams came to Vanderbilt in 2004 as director of Perioperative and Procedural Services. Earlier this year, she served as interim chief nursing officer at Children's Hospital before taking administrative leave.

“There is great sadness in all of our hearts as we mourn the passing of Donna,” said John Brock, M.D., surgeon-in-chief at Children's Hospital.
“She has touched so many lives through her endearing spirit. Her life was filled with joy, energy and passion and she faced her death in exactly the same manner. I will, as will many others, miss her greatly for her warm smile, gentle heart and compassionate look at all of her surroundings. Donna will always be a part of Children's Hospital.”

Beginning her career as a surgical nurse, Mrs. Williams also held leadership positions at Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington, Ky., and St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Milwaukee, Wis.

Mrs. Williams received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Washington in 1974 and her Masters of Science in Nursing degree in community health nursing from the University of Kentucky in 2000.

“Donna was an inspiration to nurses and leaders in Children's Hospital. She motivated us to continue to strive for a higher level of excellence as nurses and individuals. Her honesty, friendship and unconditional support will be missed,” said Susan Hernandez, R.N., MBA, interim chief nursing officer at Children's Hospital.

At Children's Hospital, Mrs. Williams helped launch the region's first Pediatric Liver Transplantation Program. In 2009, she was presented with the Five Pillar Leader Award for superior performance across VUMC's management pillars and for upholding the VUMC Credo.

“Donna made an incredible impact on our patients and inspired staff to new levels of service and excellence. Donna's contributions to Children's Hospital are immeasurable, and her unfailingly upbeat presence will certainly be missed,” said Kevin Churchwell, M.D., chief executive officer and executive director of Children's Hospital.

“Though Donna spent only six years at Children's Hospital, she had a huge positive impact on us,” said Rev. Raye Nell Dyer, Children's Hospital chaplain. “She was a mentor to individual staff members across disciplines with her gifts of integrity, courage, fun, compassion, and leadership.”

“I have an anonymous quote in my office that Donna loved,” Dyer continued. “It says, 'Think deeply, speak gently, love much, laugh aloud, work hard, give freely and be kind.' I think she loved it because she lived it, and those powerful qualities are part of the legacy she leaves with us. We are more as individuals and as an institution because she came our way.”

Mrs. Williams is survived by her husband, Alan, children Travis and Shannon, and stepchildren Ray, Scott and Michelle.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that any donations be sent to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 2107 Wilson Blvd., No. 300, Arlington, VA, 22201-3042.