MANCHESTER, N.H. – On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig joined dignitaries from Catholic Medical Center and Saint Anselm College to celebrate a new simulation lab that will help provide experience to current and future nurses.
The new lab is part of a 13,000 sq. ft healthcare simulation facility jointly run by Catholic Medical Center and Saint Anselm College that became a reality in part to $2,000,000 in congressionally directed spending coming as part of $15 million for the Granite State from the federal government’s Fiscal Year 2022 funding legislation.
Shaheen said that funding like this was once known as earmarks, but added that obtaining funding for projects like this in small states like New Hampshire through normal congressional funding formulas is difficult.
“To have the funding for projects like this, to have (the Senate) Appropriations Committee and subcommittees look at this project and say, ‘Oh yeah, this is exactly what we want to support,’ means so much to the community of Manchester and the state of New Hampshire,” she said.
Shaheen added her hope that this new facility and $500,000 provided by Congress for a new behavioral health annex at Catholic Medical Center’s emergency department will help alleviate the burnout seen by medical professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic and provide better trained healthcare professionals as well.
“The more hands-up experience health practitioners get the better they do in real-life experiences,” said Shaheen. “This facility makes sense for so many reasons.”
Catholic Medical Center Chief Nursing Officer Jennifer Cassin said that there is not only currently a nursing shortage, but a shortage of nursing instructors. She hopes that new facilities such as this one will provide some support in reversing that trend, and the funding for emergency behavioral health can also help retain qualified nurses.
“We are truly grateful to receive this funding,” said Cassin. “I can tell you these improvements are desperately needed.”
Saint Anselm College Senior Vice President of Student Advancement Jim Flanagan was also grateful to Shaheen and emphasized the partnership between the college and the hospital in providing trained medical professionals to the community, also noting that Saint Anselm College has been training nurses for 70 years.
Flanagan echoed Shaheen’s hopes that this facility will help employee retention in keep a plentiful nursing pool in the Granite State.
“Without a doubt, the state-of-the-art simulation lab will strengthen the partnership between Saint A’s and CMC,” he said. “Working in a hospital will be beneficial to students and staff alike and will underscore the value to students of working and hopefully living and staying in New Hampshire.”