Donna Via

Donna Via

Donna Via, MSN, RN, CENP, CNOR

Perioperative Services
University of Virginia Health System
Charlottesville, Virginia
United States
Donna's leadership is instrumental to the success of the perioperative region, the patients, the nursing staff, and the organization as a whole. She is a compassionate, transformational, and knowledgeable leader.

Donna exemplifies the definition of an Extraordinary Nurse Leader and more than meets the criteria for this accolade. This past year has been challenging for the staff at the Outpatient Surgery Center. We started taking inmates, added the GU patient population, and started caring for short-stay patients. Donna has been incredibly supportive throughout each of these initiatives. For each new patient population we added, Donna worked hard to be sure that the staff received the education and resources they needed. She visited the OPSC staff multiple times, heard and addressed concerns, and gave the staff time between initiatives to breathe so that they felt supported and that they were giving safe care. She was and is a constant resource. In fact, I have never been around anyone who holds such a wealth of knowledge about their organization and processes. She is a UVA encyclopedia, an invaluable resource.

Furthermore, Donna is a trusted, respected mentor to the perioperative leadership team as well as to the staff. She never makes anyone feel poorly when they make a misstep- she uses them as teaching opportunities. A personal example is when I had a staff member who was going to retire, changed his mind, and then changed it back again. It was very complicated and complex. Donna helped me with the process, never made me feel "bad" about it, and taught me a lot! I can always count on Donna to help me when I have a question or concern and she always teaches me something. I have heard from the rest of the perioperative leadership team that they have the same experience.

As well as being an excellent leader, Donna is a compassionate human being who cares about the staff as much as she cares about patients. One example of Donna's caring nature was when we had a long-term UVAHS and perioperative staff member who moved out of state for a brief amount of time. Her family moved back to the area and she wanted to come back into the organization. This nurse had been a Clinician 4 in the Main PACU for several years, but her position had been filled. She reached out to Donna to see what opportunities were available. Donna knew that the Outpatient Surgery Center (OPSC) had an opening for a Clinician 2 and became creative. She instantly visualized how a Clinician 4 could impact the patient and staff experience at OPSC. She talked several leaders about turning that position into a Clinician 4 and bringing this nurse back home to UVA in OPSC. It was a win-win! At OPSC, we are now doing nursing research, have strengthened our evidence-based practices, and adopted lean methodology under our Clinician 4's leadership. She has remarked on several occasions how she feels that Donna looked out for her on a personal level and was instrumental in bringing her back home to UVA. This is Donna's usual mode of operation. She ensures we do the best thing for our patients at all times and she always looks out for her staff as well. This is only one example of how the staff goes to her with concerns and how they know that she will be an active and engaged listener and will help them in any way possible.

In summary, Donna's leadership is instrumental to the success of the perioperative region, the patients, the nursing staff, and the organization as a whole. She is a compassionate, transformational, and knowledgeable leader. She is a reliable mentor who promotes the mission and values of the University of Virginia Health System.


Donna exemplifies the leadership skills of a DAISY Nurse Leader in many ways. First and foremost, she is the most accountable individual I've ever known. This accountability is evident not only in her long term devotion to our service line and her 300+ employees in Peri-Op but in the way she aligns herself and those who report to her to our organizational values. This accountability is not outright demanded of us or even spoken; it is role modeled in her actions and in how she handles herself as a leader. Having her as a mentor and role model then holds us and our staff to that same level of accountability, and thereby strengthens our product and ultimately the service we provide our patients.

Second is Donna's working knowledge and passion for surgical services and our Peri-Op service line. She has been at this 30 plus years and is considered the expert in not just OR nursing, but all areas to which she oversees. I've often been in situations thinking that I had something covered with respect to PACU, and then Donna throws a question or thought that I never considered! She's intelligent and on top of our work, thereby strengthening and lending credibility to our service line.

Lastly, on a personal level, Donna is the best boss a person could ask for. She gives us autonomy and flexibility to make our own decisions yet is always there to back us up if we make the wrong one. She is transparent with her vulnerabilities, and calls them out in us as well, only to help us grow. She truly cares, and although her hands are quite full (too full at times), she marches on; always with a smile and a positive outlook. I am strengthened by Donna as a leader, and my career would have stalled years ago if it weren't for her encouragement and support. I look forward to continuing to be a leader in Peri-op and to work with Donna to further serve and strengthen this organization.


Donna is my Administrator as an Assistant Nurse Manager for the OR at OPSC as part of Perioperative Services. I have known Donna for a long time. I started in the Main OR in 2000, where she had a leadership position, yet working in the rooms with us. Later when she became Manager at OPSC, I called her for a job and worked with her. She was instrumental in encouraging me as well as coaching me in attaining my Clin 3. I am working with her again as ANM at OPSC in the operating room. In Fall of 2017, my Manager and myself were tasked with moving the GUOR from West Complex to one of our Operating rooms in April this year. Donna led the way with working with Senior Leadership on equipment, instrumentation needs, space organization, and the move. Gave direction and helped to keep us on course. Attended the high-level meetings and kept myself and my Manager appraised of all developments. Donna, though being an Administrator, is still extremely knowledgeable of the front line daily operations as well as procedures and what is necessary to meet recommended practices for patient and staff safety.


I have been the Perioperative Services, Surgical Services IT Interim Manager since Aug 2015. Donna's skill and vast experience within the UVA Health System and Perioperative Services, in particular, have had a huge, positive impact as I transitioned into the manager role within SS IT. She has been a mentor to me in learning how to manage my team. Her biweekly meetings have been instrumental in helping me achieve goals for SS IT and Perioperative Services.

It is awe inspiring to see her manage/juggle/motivate/shuffle all the tasks on her plate. The facilitation of the Epic Phase 2 Go Live for our group was just such an example. It was Donna who brought up the need for additional BCA PCs in Periop fairly late in the process. She keeps up with the little things as well. For example, birthday cards for her direct reports. She is the embodiment of our ASPIRE values. Indeed, she has praised me many times publicly, but she has also pulled me aside and given me needed, constructive feedback in private.

She goes above and beyond in helping her direct reports "to connect" with each other (and pursue excellence). For example, in the past 2 years, on our end-of-the-year holiday retreats, we've experienced a "Paint & Sip" event as well as an "Escape Room". In both cases, there was a bit of fun and a bit of competition. These events have enhanced and built the culture of our department.

Donna's caring and nurturing style of management have left a profound and deep impression on me that I will never forget. She is motivated and positively engaged, serving as a true inspiration to myself and others on her management team.