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Brenna Quinn

Brenna Quinn faculty bio headshot image
Dr. Brenna QuinnAssistant Professor
  • CollegeZuckerberg College of Health Sciences
  • DepartmentSusan and Alan Solomont School of Nursing
  • OfficeHealth and Social Sciences Building

Research Interests

Pain in children with intellectual disability and complex conditions

Evaluation of pain for hospitalized children with severe-profound intellectual disability, school nurse approaches to pain assessment for students with intellectual disability, special education teacher approaches to identifying pain in the classroom setting


  • Ph D: Nursing, Population Health, (2015), University of Massachusetts Boston - Boston, MA
    Dissertation/Thesis Title: School Nurse Pain Assessment Practices for Students with Mild to Profound Special Needs
  • MS: Nursing, (2013), University of Massachusetts Boston - Boston, MA
  • BS: Nursing, Pre-Licensure, (2011), University of Massachusetts Lowell - Lowell, MA


Dr. Quinn is an assistant professor in the School of Nursing, College of Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. A doctorally prepared nurse researcher, she is also a nationally certified school nurse. Dr. Quinn currently provides direct nursing care to children with intellectual disabilities (ID) and complex conditions on a part-time basis outside of her duties as a faculty member.

She has presented research related to pediatric pain and school health internationally. Dr. Quinn trains school nurses throughout the United States on pain and pain assessment in schoolchildren with ID. She has conducted both team and independent research related to pain assessment in children in the community and acute-care settings. Dr. Quinn is also involved in quality improvement and original research aiming to improve experiences for children and families with ID at Boston Children’s Hospital. Here, she collaborates with nurses, physicians, and other project staff from the Complex Care Service and the Pain Treatment Service within the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative, and Pain Medicine to increase efficiencies in the medical and nursing evaluation process for children with complex conditions.

Outside of her clinical research areas, Dr. Quinn takes interest in examining theory-guided research, seamless education in nursing, and student success in nursing programs.


  • Quinn, B., Serna, R. (2017) "Challenges and Barriers to Identifying Pain in the Special Education Classroom: A Review," Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 4:4 pp. 328-338
  • Quinn, B., Toronto, C. (Curry College), Remington, R. (Framingham State University) () "Characteristics of Reviews Published in Nursing Literature: A Methodological Review," Advances in Nursing Science
  • Quinn, B., Smolinski, M. (University of Massachusetts Lowell) (2017) "Improving School Nurse Pain Assessment Practices for Students With Intellectual Disability," Journal of School Nursing
  • Quinn, B., Solodiuk, J.C. (Boston Children's Hospital), Morrill, D. (Boston Children's Hospital), Mauskar, S. (Boston Children's Hospital) () "Pain in Nonverbal Children with Medical Complexity: A Two-year Retrospective Study," American Journal of Nursing
  • Quinn, B., Peters, A.A., Smolinski, M. () "Strategies to Improve NCLEX-RN Success: A Systematic Review," Teaching and Learning in Nursing
  • Quinn, B. (2017) "Precepted Experiences for Doctoral Student Nurses," Creative Nursing 23:2 pp. 124-128
  • Quinn, B., Peters, A.A. (2017) "Strategies to Reduce Nursing Student Test Anxiety: A Literature Review," Journal of Nursing Education 56:3 pp. 145-151
  • Quinn, B. (2016) "Engaging Nursing Students in an Edible Pharmacological Concepts Lesson," Nurse Educator 41:6 pp. 286-287
  • Quinn, B. (2016) "Using Theory Integration to Explore Complex Health Problems.," Advances in Nursing Science 39:3 pp. 235 - 243
  • Quinn, B. (2016) "‘It’s Not Easy’: School Nurse Pain Assessment Practices for Students with Special Needs.," Pain Management Nursing 17:2 pp. 119 - 131
  • Quinn, B. (2016) "School Nurse Pain Assessment Practices for Students with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities," Eastern Nursing Research Society Annual Scientific Sessions
  • Quinn, B., Seibold, E., Hayman, L. (2015) "Pain assessment in children with special needs: A review of the literature," Exceptional Children 82:1 pp. 44-57
  • Quinn, B., Sheldon, L.K., Cooley, M.E. (2014) "Pediatric pain assessment by drawn faces scales: A review," Pain Management Nursing 15:4 pp. 909-918
  • Quinn, B. (2014) "To the editor," Nursing Education Perspectives 35:6 pp. 402
  • Quinn, B. (2014) "The ‘Seamless’ Model of Nursing Education," AJN, American Journal of Nursing 114:10 pp. 11

Contracts, Fellowships, Grants and Sponsored Research

  • Research Grant: An Exploratory Study of Bullying Exposure among School Nurses: Prevalence and Impact (2017), Grant - National Association of School Nurses
    Quinn, B. (Co-Principal), Peters, A.A. (Principal), ElGhaziri, M. (Co-Principal), Simons, S.R. (Co-Principal)
  • Seed Grant: A Checklist to Evaluate Pain of Unknown Origin in Children with Intellectual Disability (2017), Grant - UMass Lowell
    Quinn, B. (Principal), Solodiuk, J. (Co-Principal), Mauskar, S. (Co-Principal)
  • Research Grant: Total Student Health (2016), Grant - Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences
    Quinn, B. (Co-Principal), Thind, H.K. (Principal), Mangano, K. (Co-Principal), ElGhaziri, M. (Co-Principal)
  • Research Grant: Teachers as Pain Assessment Collaborators (2016), Grant - National Association of School Nurses
    Quinn, B.
  • Research Grant: School Nurse Pain Assessment Practices (2014), Sponsored Research - National Association of School Nurses
    Quinn, B.
  • Research Grant: School Nurse Pain Assessment Practices (2014), Sponsored Research - Sigma Theta Tau Eta Omega Chapter
    Quinn, B.