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The Ann Tornetta Nursing Education Fund Establishes a Legacy of Teaching

The Ann Tornetta Nursing Education Fund Establishes a Legacy of Teaching

Categories: Blog, Stories of Giving

Carol and Don Tornetta promote health and well-being which is a family legacy well-known to the healthcare institutions in the Norristown area. In Norristown, the Tornetta name is synonymous with all types of business, but it was Don’s uncle, Frank J. Tornetta, MD, who sowed the seeds for what was to become a close family bond with healthcare in the area.  Dr. Tornetta was the long-time Director of the Department of Anesthesiology at Montgomery Hospital Medical Center. In 1951 he founded what is now known as the Frank J. Tornetta School of Anesthesia at Einstein Medical Center Montgomery.

Ann Tornetta, Don’s mother and Dr. Tornetta’s sister-in-law, was a charter member of the 1889 Society at Montgomery Hospital, a giving society that raised funds to support patient care. When Einstein Healthcare Network partnered with Montgomery Hospital, Ann offered enthusiastic support. She believed the community needed and deserved access to the best quality care and believed that a new, state-of-the-art hospital would help solidify those services for the Norristown area for years to come. She came to fully appreciate the level of care Einstein brought to the community. “Ann, my mother-in-law, would not go to any other hospital for her needs,” recalls Carol.

When Ann was in her 80s, she had two hip replacements and a knee replacement at Einstein Montgomery. According to Carol, “It wasn’t until she was diagnosed with heart failure that we came to understand the quality of care she was going to get at Einstein.” 

The Tornettas were comforted in the knowledge and professionalism of the physicians and nursing staff. “When she went into the ICU, we met the most amazing nurses.” The nurses rallied to care not only for Ann, but also for the family, when they all realized Ann’s time was growing short.

“The most important thing for our family is they helped mom (pass) and they did it with such grace and dignity,” Carol remembers. “It was exactly what she wanted.” Gratitude for care received comes in many forms. According to Don, Ann’s son, it was natural for his family to come together and ask how they could give back to Einstein Montgomery to honor Ann and show their appreciation.  

“My mother’s care solidified a relationship here for me at the hospital with the staff,” says Don. The inspired care the Tornettas received led to the creation of the Ann Tornetta Nursing Education Fund.  “It’s a heartfelt thank you for doing all the hard work the nurses do for patients. She would be very proud and honored,” explains Don.

AnnMarie Papa, DNP, RN, FAEN, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, expressed her enthusiasm for how the fund will enrich the department. “The Ann Tornetta Fund enables nurses to expand their knowledge, ignite their passion, and realize their dreams.” 

Mike Whitner, Vascular Access Specialist at Einstein Montgomery, had the opportunity to partake in nursing education enrichment because of the Tornettas’ gift. He was able to gain knowledge of the latest evidence-based practices by networking with other vascular access specialists on a national level and bring those to Einstein Montgomery to promote the safest and most innovative protocols.

For his part, Whitner was grateful to have access to funding to encourage his continuing education. “Having the ability to participate in the Association of Vascular Access Scientific Meeting allowed me to collaborate with colleagues actively involved in front-line interventions, improving the care and outcomes our patients experience every day.”