First United Methodist Church
142 E Jackson St
Orlando, FL 32801
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Shirley Scott

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Scott, Shirley Shirley Scott, one of the first Hospice nurses in the United States, died peacefully at home on Thursday, February 11. After attending a 5-day workshop with Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in 1976, Shirley became interested in the field of Thanatology, the study of death, dying and bereavement. In 1977, Orlando Hospice was formed, the third hospice in the United States. Shirley was the first volunteer, then became their first full-time nurse. She continued her work with hospice as they became Hospice of Central Florida, and then Vitas, Inc. She was a Vitas patient at the time of her death. Never allowing age to be a factor, Shirley's passion for learning was an inspiration to many younger colleagues. Shirley graduated from Valencia Community College in 1976 with an AS in Nursing at the age of 49. She was 58 when she earned her BS in Nursing from Florida Southern University, and 66 when she got her Master in Health Science from Columbia Pacific University. Her work in end-of-life care and compassionate care for the dying spanned 40 years, and was both focused and passionate. She developed and taught the first Death Education Course for nursing students at Valencia Community College, and was nationally recognized by the Association for Death Education and Counseling, and other groups, for teaching grief counseling, death related concepts and end-of-life decision making to health care providers and community groups. Shirley published many articles and professional papers. The most important one, "Life Support Interventions at the End of Life: Unintended Consequences," was published as the cover article in 2010 in the American Journal of Nursing. It continues to serve as a tool for nurses helping patients and family members make vital decisions. For her Master's thesis, Shirley was one of the first to research grief reactions to the death of an ex-spouse. Several years later she and coauthor Peggy Sapphire published a book, "The Disenfranchised: Stories of Love and Grief When an Ex-Spouse Dies." She was 85 at the time. In the last several years, Shirley took great pleasure working with medical students in the anatomy lab at UCF School of Medicine. As they learned from their cadavers, she felt she was helping them to become more sensitive physicians by assisting them as they worked through feelings about death. Her work started with UCF's first class of medical students and continued until a few months before her death. Over the years, Shirley was an active volunteer, serving on the Orlando Regional Healthcare System's Bioethics Committee and Institutional Review Board, Vitas Healthcare's Bioethics Committee, Widowed Person's Service-AARP, Winter Park Health Foundation community education, Orlando Science Center Visitor Liaison in Nature Works, Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts. She also enjoyed singing in the Bach Choir for over 20 years. She attended the Nu Class at the First United Methodist church in Orlando. Shirley and her husband, Hal Scott, moved to Orlando in the mid-50's where they raised their four children. Several years after Hal died, she and her companion Chuck Cullom enjoyed 15 years together before his death in 2013. She is survived by her children Tom (Nada), Sherry, Linda Collison (Don Riggs) and Bob (Kathy), and grandchildren Alicyn Kaiser (Andre), Andre Murnane (Caitlin), Jonathan (Blake), Stephanie, Nick, Austen, and Sean Scott. A Celebration of Life ceremony will be held Saturday, March 5 at 2:00 pm at First United Methodist Church of Orlando, 142 E. Jackson St., Orlando. In memory of Shirley, the family requests donations be made to UCF College of Medicine, Office of Advancement, 6850 Lake Nona Blvd., Orlando, FL 32827. Please make checks payable to the UCF Foundation and write Shirley Scott Thanatology Fund on the memo line. To make a gift online, visit www.ucffoundation.org/givetoucfmedicine. Select "Other" in the Designation drop down menu and write MED1000124.
Published in the Orlando Sentinel on Feb. 20, 2016
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