Susan Collins visits UMPI for tour of medical labs

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Virtual reality and simulated births are just two of the things U.S. Sen. Susan Collins experienced Thursday morning.

Collins toured the pediatric and obstetric simulation lab inside Folsom Hall at University of Maine at Presque Isle Friday. She experienced a virtual reality simulation of different perspectives during the birthing process, and even got to help UMPI students deliver a baby manakin through a real world simulation.

During the real world simulation, the mother manakin (named Lucy), would actually speak to the students, making requests and asking questions. This teaches the students about proper bedside manner, how to answer patients questions during procedures and how to adapt to changing situations. 

Senator Susan Collins assists two University of Maine at Fort Kent students, Nicole Caddell and Nathan Wall, in a simulated birth presentation at the University of Maine at Presque Isle. (David DiMinno | The Star-Herald)

The purpose of the demonstration was to show how students respond to patient needs and carry out medical procedures. There are several different modules that the students can run that have different challenges. They prepare students for different scenarios that they will have to tackle in the medical field.

Collins is a senior member of the United States Senate Appropriations Committee, and has drafted a bill that would secure $1 million for UMPI. This would allow the University of Maine system to replicate the simulation lab at UMPI in a mobile unit that can be taken to different locations, and will support health care workforce training. 

“I am very hopeful that if I succeed in getting $1 million to buy the simulator van, that it can help avoid the need for nursing students to have to go all the way to Bangor to get their clinical hours in,” Collins said. 

Susan Collins sits with several members of the University of Maine system, observing medical simulations inside the University of Maine at Presque Isle’s Folsom Hall. From left are, front: Stacy Thibodeau, Nicole Caddell, Sen. Susan Collins, Nathan Wall and Erin Soucy. Standing; Dr. Deborah Roark, Amanda Henderson, President Ray Rice, Kris Doody, Jennifer Plant and Barbara Blackstone. (David DiMinno | The Star-Herald)

The committee is in the final stages of the appropriations process, and should be finished deliberating by March 11, she said. Collins has gotten the appropriations committee to approve the request.

“This is not the final step, but a necessary step,” Collins said. “I am cautiously optimistic that the next time I come up, that I can stop by with good news.”


Get the Rest of the Story

Thank you for reading your 4 free articles this month. To continue reading, and support local, rural journalism, please subscribe.