Shaheen secures $2M for health care facility, project will aid nursing here


Courtesy/Jill Dorazio

Gadbois Hall, the current hub of student nursing on campus

Jill Dorazio, Crier Staff

Exciting news arrived to the Saint Anselm community late March when it was confirmed that the college and Catholic Medical Center (CMC) had received funding for the creation of a “new, innovative” health care facility on Manchester’s West Side. U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) provided $2 million in funding, of which she, in her own words, “worked to secure in the government funding legislation” that had just recently been “signed into law.” Shaheen, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Chair of the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, pursues this legislation with effective yet accessible healthcare as a priority. 

According to CollegeFactual, Saint Anselm College is ranked number one in the state of New Hampshire for its nursing program, and 121 in the entire nation. Additionally, in accordance with the mission of Saint Anselm College and the Catholic, Benedictine tradition, the mission of the Department of Nursing, as cited from the college’s webpage regarding the department, is to educate the Saint Anselm student nurse to become a professional who can achieve a certain set of standards. 

The successful student nurse at Saint Anselm can “think critically, provide safe, high quality care based on the most current evidence, utilize information technology, practice holistically and collaboratively while caring for diverse individuals, families, communities and populations, demonstrate leadership in a variety of settings, engage in service to others, and pursue lifelong learning.” Furthermore, the institution’s nursing program extends beyond fundamental pillars of a liberal arts education with Catholic values and ethics. As highlighted on the webpage, “the Department of Nursing views nursing as a profession which utilizes both art and science in the provision of patient-centered care that is creative, goal-directed and evidence-based.” Essentially, the central priority or commitment of the nurse is the focus of the individual as well as the community’s health and wellbeing.

Measuring in the top ten percent of the country, nursing professors and students alike express excitement and optimism about the school’s enhanced facilities. Dr. Maureen O’Reilly, director of nursing, emphasizes the importance of this opportunity in allowing “faculty and students to strengthen their inter-professional relationships with staff at CMC.” 

This new facility is intent to support healthcare staff, as well as nursing and healthcare students, through the development and continued support of job-like training and medical simulations of healthcare events and testing. Furthermore, this resource for the nursing department will serve as an addition to Saint Anselm College’s campus simulation facilities, which are currently located in the ground floor of Gadbois Hall. 

In order to ensure an effective, safe, and secure learning environment for nursing students beginning their clinical rotations, Dr. O’Reilly explains that simulation labs provide necessary and realistic experience for potential unknown scenarios or conditions. “Working with hospital staff will add another dimension to the simulation experiences students participate in on campus,” helping to “enhance communication and collaboration within the healthcare team.” Stressing the importance of “patient outcomes,” O’Reilly continues that such collaboration, “in a combined facility, will be beneficial for students and staff alike as we prepare to meet the challenges of the modern healthcare environment.” 

Senator Shaheen asserted that the facility will be home to “hands-on training and simulation centers that ensure our nursing students are equipped” with the best resources and tools for successful education. “By connecting students with top healthcare professionals and technology,” Shaheen states, “this partnership between St. A’s and CMC will train the next generation of healthcare leaders,” especially in providing both quality and affordable healthcare for NH residents. 

Certain nursing students see this development as “two-fold,” like sophomore Arianna Raso. “While I’m excited for future students to have this opportunity, it is disappointing and disheartening to endure virtual learning through COVID and still be lacking in supplies and equipment when it comes to in-person simulation.” Raso further notes her frustration with all funding going towards the facility, when it could have also assisted in updating outdated equipment and resources that nursing students find themselves reusing. 

Saint Anselm College President Dr. Joseph Favazza expresses his gratitude for this upcoming partnership, as well as Jennifer Cassin, Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President Nursing at Catholic Medical Center. “We are delighted to have an opportunity to extend our wonderful relationship with Catholic Medical Center,” says Favazza. “This simulation lab will provide our nursing students a new opportunity for a meaningful, hands-on learning experience. The college is very grateful to Sen. Shaheen for this support and advocacy.” Cassin added her gratitude “for the Senator’s support of this project,” which will aid CMC staff in training “nurses and providers on leading-edge technologies” as well as supporting “Manchester’s growing biotech industry,” a final sentiment illuminating general beliefs that the state of New Hampshire’s evolving economic engine will soon be driven, at large, by the biotech and biomed industry.