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Lisa Wensink

$26,050.00 (raised so far)

About Lisa Wensink

Lisa Rachel Wensink worked as a Registered Nurse, focusing on mental health, since her BSN graduation from UBCO in 2007. Working in several different positions within Interior Health (IH), she made a great difference to the lives of so many people living with mental illness.

Lisa was born to Beth and Joe Sivak in 1968, the fifth of six children. Joe and Beth moved their family to the Okanagan in 1978, and Lisa spent her youth and her adulthood in Kelowna. In 1993, she married Richard Wensink, and the two built a delightful and beautiful life together. She received her BSN in 2007. Lisa worked as a Registered Nurse (Inpatient Psychiatry) at the McNair Psychiatry Unit at Kelowna General Hospital, and then as clinician with the Developmental Disabilities and Mental Health Services Program. She also served as Staff Development Educator at McNair. She was the Team Leader for Kelowna’s first Assertive Community Treatment at Kelowna MHSU Services. Most recently, she worked as the MHSU Network – Quality, Standards and Practice Team. Lisa graduated with her Master of Science in Nursing in 2016 from UBCO, writing her thesis on nurses caring for people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Lisa died September 6, 2019, from a brain aneurysm, caused by an arteriovenous malformation.

Her concern for people with complex mental health diagnoses prompted her to pursue her Master of Science in Nursing, researching nurses’ perceptions of caring for people with Borderline Personality Disorder. Lisa’s research reinforced her belief in the necessity of caring for people with complex diagnoses. Reflecting on her research, she wrote:

I am reminded of my first year of work as a nurse in mental health.  One weekend, I had a patient diagnosed with BPD who was struggling with multiple social and emotional issues.  I spent time with her and felt we had a connection, but did not think any more of it until the next time I worked, when another nurse told me there was an envelope in the staff room for me.  I opened the envelope, and there was a letter and a ring made out of beads from the craft room.  In the letter, this patient thanked me for my time and for ‘treating me like a person.’ I still have the ring and the letter, though I never saw her again.  When I would have a particularly difficult day at work, I would take the ring out, look at it, and think, ‘this is why I do this work.’  I am sure this patient never knew that she gave me more help and courage in my career, than I ever felt I gave to her.  This small and personal story reflects the impact of caring which nurses are privileged to give and receive while working with people diagnosed with BPD.

 Lisa’s sincerity, humility, humour, and warmth shone in her professional and personal life, and made a difference to so many of us.

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The impact of your support

In memory of Lisa, please consider making a gift to the Lisa Wensink Award in Mental Health Nursing Award and support nursing students at UBC’s Okanagan campus. Lisa was a double alumna of UBCO (BSc ’07, MSc ’16) who found her calling when she became a registered nurse. Her concern and compassion for those struggling with mental illness is where Lisa made such a difference in the lives of our most vulnerable in the community. Your gift will pay tribute to Lisa’s life and career.

All gifts up to a total of $25,000 will be matched by UBC, doubling the impact of your gift.

Messages of Remembrance

All Messages
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  • One of the things I will miss, is Lisa's laugh, you always knew when Lisa found something funny and could not help laughing with her.

    Judith Sivak, Sister
  • I met Lisa on a plane ride to Denver to see Electric Light Orchestra in concert. She happened to be seated beside me and my friend Louise. Having been a long-time friend of Allison, I knew who she was immediately! Same voice, same laugh, huge family resemblance. What a lucky meeting and fabulous trip. I had heard so much about her and feel fortunate to have spent time with her that weekend. She was lovely, amazing, and so much fun. Side note: alcohol at Denver altitude is powerful.

    Liz Fulton-Lyne, Friend
List of Donors
All Donors
  • Cheryl Perry

  • Rhonda and John MacNeil

  • Margaret Clarke

  • Anonymous Donation

  • Jodi and Ben

  • Kim Frail

  • First United Church Outreach

  • Gord and Gloria Robbins

  • Anonymous Donation

  • Richard Wensink

  • Anonymous Donation

  • Diane Wensink, Gerrit and Dorothy Wensink

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