Testimony of Eileen Duffey to the Board of Education, October 18, 2018

Good evening. My name is Eileen Duffey. I am the School Nurse at the Academy @ Palumbo HS.

The current school nurses are still feeling the reverberations of the layoffs of 2012, which resulted in 5 years of poorly staffed school health rooms and the devastation of a nationally recognized school health program.

Beginning last year the district attempted to repair this breech and sought to place full time school nurses in as many school as possible.

In addition, we now have a Director of School Health Services in Dr. Mathurin as well as a Director of Nursing and three school health coordinators. These decisions are laudable and position us to regain our pride in a quality school health program.

This year, nothing caused greater consternation among the nurses in the schools than the misguided decision to send both substitute nurses and our covering nurses into schools lacking access to the information to do our jobs professionally. We learned this afternoon that access to student health records will become available to the nurses by the end of this week.

However, the decision making behind the previous policy illustrates the difficulty created when decisions about school health are made by leaders who have not been trained in the field of either medicine or nursing.

The increased staffing at 440 for School Health Services has provided additional qualified professionals in decision making positions. Please allow them to bring their professional expertise to the table.

Thank you.