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School Nurses Chapter Newsletter - Fall 2016

From your chapter leader

Welcome back to another school year. This was a hectic start for many of us. The change of our staff development day created a lot of running around and catching up on our first day back. The good news is that we have an agreement with the Office of School Health that it will not happen again. In the future, we will be following the school calendar so that we can meet with school staff and present our “talking points” in a timely fashion.

Several nurses have contacted me personally about a number of things including the new changes in the Medication Administration Forms, the revised trip nurse policy, the lack of trip nurses and nurses being pulled to cover another site.

I am addressing these concerns at our consultation meetings; however, I need you to notify me immediately if you face any of these issues. To prove our case, we need to have reliable records which show how often these problems occur. You can email me at with details.

Last, I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving and I look forward to seeing you at our chapter meetings.

In unity,

Cathy Connolly
School Nurses Chapter Leader

From our chapter meeting

We discussed the following items at our Oct. 26 meeting:

Work schedule: Nurses’ regular work days are six hours and 55 minutes long, including a 30-minute unpaid lunch. If you are working additional hours for charter schools, breakfast programs, a.m./p.m. busing or after-school programs, you are entitled to overtime pay. If you have believe you have been inadequately paid, please contact the UFT office in your borough ASAP. Salary experts will handle your situation.

Lunch period: For the first time in our contract, we have language that clearly stipulates that nurses are entitled to a 30-minute uninterrupted lunch period. This was a major win for us! You work so hard to support your students and the entire school community. You deserve to have a break during the day. Here are some rules you should know about your lunch period:

  • Nurses in a single-nurse site whose lunch period is interrupted due to a medical emergency shall have their entire 30-minute lunch period rescheduled by their supervisor between the hours of 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
  • Nurses unable to take a complete 30-minute uninterrupted lunch period during these hours are entitled to half of his or her hourly rate of pay, provided the nurse submits documentation to his or her supervisor in a timely manner with the relevant information about the medical emergency.
  • If you are called for an emergency during your lunch period, keep your Automated Student Health Record documentation as proof that you were interrupted. You must document that you were interrupted on your timesheet and inform your payroll secretary so that it is entered into Cybershift correctly.

As a general reminder, if you take your lunch in the teachers’ lounge or another area, notify the main office of your location in the building and make sure you have a note on your door referring students to the main office or designated area determined by the principal.

Sick days: The revised Article 16 section A11 of our contract provides that employees will be allowed to use up to three sick days per year to care for ill family members. 

Holiday pay: The hours you spend working outside of work should be rewarded. The agreement signed on June 14, 2016 states that nurses and therapists who work on regular paid holidays specified in the DOE’s Administrative Rules and Regulations and consistent with the Collective Bargaining Agreement will be paid 100 percent cash premium for all hours worked on the holiday at the hourly rate of 1/1213 in addition to their regular salary.

Problems with your paycheck: Are you receiving your correct salary? This includes overtime pay, longevity, experience differential, and any other related matter. The UFT has salary reps in each borough who are familiar with our H-bank payroll. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your salary, please contact a salary representative in your borough.

  • Bonnie Sepulveda, Vivian Vasquez, Tracie Abrigo – Bronx
  • Rebecca Pietromonaco –  Staten Island
  • Joan Brown, Tracie Fields –  Manhattan
  • Anita Falco, Erin Oats, Donna Chartash, Connie Donohue – Brooklyn
  • Patrick Muraco – Queens

Consultation meetings

Consultations are scheduled throughout the year with the Director of Nursing Cathy Travers. At these meetings, we discuss issues of concern and any questions you have. On Nov. 2, the following topics were discussed:

Charter schools: Nurses in stand-alone charter schools may have the principal or nursing supervisor sign their time sheets and then fax them to Kenny Chez at the DOE.

Increase in paperwork: Many of you have complained about the increase in paperwork and the amount of time it takes to complete. You have also told the UFT about how much time it takes to input data related to Epipens/Benaydryl and Allergy Response Plans. The Office of School Health has acknowledged that this process is very time consuming.

The UFT School Nurses Chapter has established a paperwork committee to review the current process and present new ideas on how to streamline the paperwork. I have asked our chapter’s executive board members to volunteer for this task. We also welcome any of your thoughts and ideas on this topic. Please email me with your suggestions at

New Administration of Children’s Services memo: You should have received a memo on Nov. 1 from Cathy Travers, the director of nursing, regarding taking pictures in suspected child abuse cases. This raised some issues for our nurses. Until further notice, you must follow these guidelines. However, both the UFT and DC37, who represent our Department of Health colleagues, have concerns and we plan to follow up with the city.

Meet your Executive Board members

The following nurses represent you on our chapter's Executive Board:

Cynthia Bennett, Queens
Beverly Biggs, Bronx
Janet Carter, Queens
BJ Darby, PM Staffer
Ellen Sebastiano, Brooklyn
Marie Thompson, District 75
Jessy Warren, Queens


Upcoming events

Chapter meetings

Please save the date for the following chapter meetings. All meetings will take place on a Wednesday at UFT headquarters at 50 Broadway, 2nd floor, room E/F from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

Jan 25, 2017: Guest speaker TBA

March 29, 2017: Guest speaker TBA

Executive Board meetings

All executive board meetings will take place on a Wednesday at UFT headquarters at 52 Broadway, 16th floor, in the Doughtery conference room from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

Jan. 11, 2017

March 8, 2017

May 3, 2017

June 7, 2017

New York Teacher highlights school nurse Janet Carter

Janet CarterJanet Carter (PS 107, Queens) was highlighted in the December issue of the New York Teacher. In the article, she discusses her biggest challenges and her favorite part of the job.

When asked about working with children with special needs, she said, “I’m very patient with children and develop a good rapport with them. The mother of one of my former students with severe seizures just sent me a photo of him — he’s 13 now — sitting up and alert. She credits a lot of that to me helping him at a critical stage. She said, “You took care of him, that’s a big part of why he is as well as he is now.” 

Read the article in the New York Teacher »

Keep up to date with chapter news

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Related Topics: Chapter News