Nursing Mourns Loss of Passionate Leader and Innovator Dr. Vanessa Burkoski

Photo of Dr. Vanessa Burkoski on beige background. Photo courtesy of Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (

UWindsor Nursing alumna and former adjunct professor, Dr. Vanessa Burkoski, leaves behind a legacy of professionalism and progressive nursing.

Long remembered for her tireless work in advancing the nursing profession, UWindsor Nursing alumna, former adjunct professor, and past president of Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO), Vanessa Burkoski, has passed away at the age of 61.

An extraordinary mentor and leader with a courageous voice, Dr. Burkoski was highly regarded and respected for her progressive work in nursing education, practice, administration, and research. Burkoski is described as true friend who was passionate about improving provincial health programming and making a difference for nurses and the community.

According to Families First, Burkoski’s prolific career includes such posts as:

  • Registered Nurse
  • Adjunct Lecturer - Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto
  • Associate Professor - Faculty of Nursing, University of Western Ontario
  • Adjunct Associate Professor - Faculty of Nursing, University of Windsor
  • Provincial Chief Nursing Officer Interview Panel
  • President, Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO)
  • Director, Emergency and Critical Care Windsor Regional Hospital Windsor, Ontario
  • Healthcare Organization Consultant/Surveyor Accreditation Canada Toronto, Ontario
  • Provincial Chief Nursing Officer - Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
  • Chief Nursing Executive/Quality & Patient Safety Officer/Professional Scholarly Practice - London Health Sciences Centre
  • Chief Nursing Executive & Chief, People Strategy, Humber River Hospital

Burkoski’s awards and achievements included:

  • Rotary Club Vocational Service Award
  • The Margret Comack National Award of Excellence in Nursing Leadership
  • ACE (Achievement, Commitment, Excellence) Certificate of Recognition-Ministry of Health, 9,000 Nurses Steering Committee
  • Nursing Leadership Award - Canadian College of Health Leaders (CCHL)
  • RNAO’s Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Order of Ontario

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Photo courtesy of Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO)

- Gam Macasaet