Through the ongoing appropriations process, Senator Collins is working to secure $1 million for the University of Maine System to acquire a mobile simulation lab
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Presque Isle – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Susan Collins toured the pediatric and obstetric simulation lab at the University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI). While on site, Senator Collins watched the faculty demonstrate how to manipulate the manikins and how the students respond to patient needs. UMPI President Ray Rice, Cary Medical Center CEO Kris Doody, and University of Maine System faculty and students were in attendance.
As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Collins secured $1 million for the University of Maine System (UMS) in a draft appropriations bill that would allow UMS to replicate the simulation lab in a mobile unit to support health care workforce training. This equipment would help increase clinical training capacity in these specialties and train nursing students to meet the critical need for health care workers in rural communities.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the shortage of doctors and nurses our rural state was already facing. These workforce shortages have serious consequences for access to and quality of care for Mainers,” said Senator Collins. “The University of Maine at Presque Isle’s state-of-the-art simulation lab is a wonderful resource to train nurses, but they need more capacity. The proposal to create a mobile lab will double the capacity of the simulation and allow UMS to send the mobile lab to other rural communities across the state. I enjoyed speaking with UMPI faculty and students today about how the new mobile simulation unit will help bolster our state’s rural health care workforce and keep Mainers healthy. As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, I strongly advocated on behalf of UMS to include this critical project in the funding bill, and I will continue to champion this investment as the process moves forward.”
Maine faces a critical shortfall of nurses. Maine’s public universities are receiving a record number of applications to its nursing program, yet despite this workforce cliff, the system is forced to turn away hundreds of qualified candidates due to clinical facility capacity constraints.
Senator Collins secured $1 million in the draft fiscal year 2022 appropriations bills. Once the funding bill passes Congress and is signed into law, UMS will be able to use this investment to purchase and outfit a 40-foot mobile simulation unit with high-fidelity pediatric and infant simulators, a high-fidelity birthing manikin and virtual reality equipment and headsets to maximize and standardize the clinical learning experience. The mobile van will provide a full-scale simulation center with two rooms that mimic a hospital room, a control room to operate the technology, and a debriefing space. Sophisticated high fidelity pediatric, infant, and birthing mothers will simulate various common clinical situations. The van will travel throughout UMS, but it is critically needed for training nursing students at UMPI and University of Maine at Fort Kent.