Testimony of Colleen Quinn to the BOE, November 21, 2019

Good Evening and thank you for the opportunity to address the school board. My name is Colleen Quinn and I have worked in healthcare for 40 plus years at several highly respected academic medical facilities, with the most recent being HUP. I am a Certified School Nurse, a Board Certified Advanced Practice Nurse, and a Board Certified Emergency Nurse. I have worked hard over the course of my career to meet the standards and rigors of nursing and I am extremely proud of my chosen profession. However, since coming to the SDP 4 years ago, I am appalled at the disrespect and sheer disregard of nurses within this district.

If you do a little research, what you will find is that for the last 17 years, nursing was ranked the most trusted profession in Gallup’s ethics survey. This annual poll found that 84 percent of respondents rated the honesty and ethical standards of nurses as high or very high. I can only guess that the other 16% percent must work for the SDP.

Two years ago the SD hired a chief medical officer, a director of nursing, and opened positions for 3 additional school health nursing coordinators at 440. Collectively as nurses we were all very excited in anticipation of needed change to School Health Services and the services we offer to the students of Philadelphia. First and foremost, to have a Medical Professional at our helm was paramount. Finally, guidance from someone who speaks our language and knows the law as it relates to healthcare and HIPPA and student HEALTH. A director of nursing, someone to oversee Protocol and Policy…something that has not been addressed in years. We did have a P&P manual when I arrived but it quickly disappeared…. we were told it was being updated. Additional coordinators to take the burden of 300 nurses off Shannon and build an induction program for nurses that we all need to complete by our 6-year anniversary within the district. This is a state mandated requirement for nurses, however we are being told to ‘just sign up for the teacher one.” Fast forward 2 years, we have NO medical leadership, we have never been informed that she no longer works for the district, as fast as we hire coordinators they quit, as fast as they fill the nurse vacancies, new one occur. I feel this is a direct reflection of the current leadership we have at 440.

And to further add insult, yesterday in response to the many inquiries made to 440 about nurse documentation being changed, immunization protocols we are being asked to comply with, having no medical doctor overseeing health care practice in the SD, we received an email from the CIO, not the CMO, stating “The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) generally does not apply to K12 student health records that are maintained by the School District.  In the context of HIPAA, we are not a healthcare provider or insurer for students, and students are not our patients. I would like for this person to spend a day in any of our health rooms and then tell me I am not a healthcare provider and students are not our patients!

This is unacceptable on so many levels that I don’t know where to begin. Thank you for your time.