Memorial Fund to Honor Nurse Practitioner Tori Sheahan
The legacy of pediatric nurse practitioner Tori Sheahan–a consummate caretaker and champion for the health of local youth–is being honored by the establishment of a fund to provide medical supplies and health education resources to students in Winter Park, Maitland and Eatonville.
The Tori Sheahan Memorial Health Education Fund has been created by the Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF) at the Foundation for Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) to honor Ms. Sheahan who passed away very unexpectedly on June 22.
“We thought it a fitting tribute,” explained Debbie Watson, WPHF Vice President, “because Ms. Sheahan was passionate about empowering and educating youth on how to manage their chronic health conditions—such as asthma and diabetes–and pursue healthy lifestyles.”
Members of the community are welcome to join in the tribute. (See details at the end of the story.)
News of the fund was announced during a July 11 community memorial service for Ms. Sheahan, the well-respected and much-loved Coordinator of the WPHF’s School Nursing Initiative (SNI) and nurse practitioner at the Glenridge Middle School-Based Health Center. The sanctuary of Winter Park Presbyterian Church was filled with friends, nursing and school colleagues, as well as families whose lives had been touched by Ms. Sheahan.
Unflappable, and ever positive, Ms. Sheahan had been involved in the WPHF Coordinated Youth Initiative (CYI) programs since 2003. (CYI is a collection of free, school-based health and wellness programs offered in 12 schools in Winter Park, Maitland and Eatonville and supported by WPHF. Services include school nurses, nurse practitioners, CHILL mental health professionals and healthy school teams.)
“We all know the difference Tori made,” said Ms. Watson. “She was an extraordinarily caring and capable caregiver, as well as a collaborator, connector, innovator and mentor. She was a champion for the health of our youth, and she will be missed terribly.
Born in Virginia Beach, VA in 1969, Ms. Sheahan obtained a registered nurse (RN) degree from Riverside Hospital in Newport News, VA and then a bachelor of nursing degree from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA. She later obtained a Pediatric Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) degree through the University of Florida.
She worked with Healthcare Providers of Florida—a group of nurse practitioners providing school-based health care for the underserved in Central Florida, since 2000, serving as vice president since 2008.
As SNI Coordinator for WPHF, Ms. Sheahan helped supervise, mentor and support school nurses in the Winter Park Consortium of Schools, and she also staffed the Glenridge School-Based Health Center where she went to any length required to make sure her patients got the care, medicine, education and social services they needed.
Ms. Sheahan also was an innovator. She helped WPHF develop an electronic medical records system for use in school clinics so treatment can be tracked and noted for trends, and the system enables nurses to have student histories at their fingertips.
In 2010, WPHF nominated Ms. Sheahan as an Orlando Business Journal “Nurse Hero.” Fittingly, Heather Hilton, the Glenridge principal at that time, offered these comments about her for the nomination. “We affectionately see her as a ‘dog with a bone’ – she will not let go of a situation until she is certain that health and safety for each member of our community has been met. Ms. Sheahan will seek out other medical assistance, help with filling prescriptions, determine insurance options, and guide staff and parents with updated medical information. But more importantly – she listens with her heart. She cares for each student as though they were her own and because of that we are a better school.”
Ms. Sheahan leaves behind husband Bill and children Tom and Ellie.
She also leaves behind a legacy of kindness and caring. She will be missed by all of us.