Senator Collins Discusses Efforts to Alleviate Nursing Shortage at Saint Joseph’s College in Standish
U.S. Senator Susan Collins visited Saint Joseph’s College to speak with administrators, faculty, and students about the college’s efforts to alleviate the shortfall of medical professionals in Maine. She also saw firsthand the plans that are underway to continue Saint Joseph’s exceptional instruction of current and future generations of nurses.
President Jim Dlugos and Undergraduate Nursing Program Director Terry Girouard-Jordan led Senator Collins on a tour of the third floor of Mercy Hall, which is currently undergoing construction to become a nursing simulation floor. The new facility will consist of a nursing station, four hospital rooms—two ICU, one pediatric, and one maternity—that will have the ability to prepare nursing students for a variety of health care scenarios, including heart attacks, strokes, and births. The labs will use high-tech, life-like manikins, the latest medical equipment, and simulated medications. The SIM floor also includes a simulated home care “apartment” to train students and caregivers in community health. Afterwards, Senator Collins received a tour of the second floor of Mercy Hall, which Saint Joseph’s plans to upgrade to facilitate collaborative education and community partnerships with three smart classrooms as well as space where students can study, obtain test help, take tests, and interact with faculty. Senator Collins has championed funding for both of these projects.
“Maine has the highest median age of any state in the nation, which presents unique challenges to the state’s health workforce for meeting the needs of its aging population. In addition, many of Maine’s residents reside in rural areas where there is often a lack of access to home health care,” said Senator Collins. “Saint Joseph’s College has been a leader in the effort to train a sufficient number of medical professionals to keep Mainers healthy. By constructing state-of-the-art simulation labs, and increased academic space, and flexible spaces to allow other community groups such as local EMT’s to provide training, this investment will help Saint Joseph’s build on its superb health care workforce training programs and grow the number of nurses and other health care workers in Maine. As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, I will continue to champion this funding as the appropriations process moves forward.”
Commenting on the Senator’s visit, President Jim Dlugos said, “Saint Joseph’s College is deeply grateful to Senator Collins for her wonderful advocacy and support for our project to complete the Center for Nursing Innovation. These facilities will not only excellently serve our students, but assist us in our mission to engage the community around us so that together we can provide a larger, stronger health care workforce for Maine.”
Saint Joseph’s College is a Catholic, liberal arts college with an average annual enrollment of about 2,000 students on campus and online. Among other programs of study, it offers an on-campus Bachelors of Science in Nursing, an online Registered Nurse to BSN program, RN to Masters of Science in Nursing Fast Track program, as well as online graduate programs and advanced certifications for Family Nurse Practitioners, nursing administration, nursing education, a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study, and MSN/MBA and MSN/MHA dual degrees. Nursing is the college’s largest program.
Senator Collins secured $810,000 for Saint Joseph’s to build the simulation lab in the Fiscal Year 2022 Appropriations package that was signed into law in March. Senator Collins is also working to secure an additional $1.2 million in the Fiscal Year 2023 Appropriations package to expand space for academic programs for BSN students and for training the home care workforce for the State of Maine.