Neal Earmarks $350,000 for BCC

Funds to provide upgrades to nursing program's simulation equipment

Congressman Richard E. Neal, Chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means, visited Berkshire Community College (BCC) today to announce a $350,000 earmark for upgrades to the nursing program's simulation (SIM) equipment.

The allocation was made possible through Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) from the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. Congressman Neal submitted funding for this project in the Fiscal Year 2022 spending bill that was signed into law earlier this year.

Congressman Neal

I was proud to fight for this funding for BCC that will allow for the first substantive upgrade to this important nursing training equipment since 2009. This equipment will enhance the technical skill level of students and prepare them to adequately meet the workforce needs of the Berkshire County healthcare community

Congressman Richard E. Neal

"There are so many studies that support the implementation of simulation experiences into nursing education,” said BCC Dean of Nursing Lori Moon. Simulation enables students to practice clinical decision-making skills in a protected environment while enhancing students’ confidence, promoting patient safety and making the connection between theory and nursing practice, she explained.

“We are so excited to add to the state-of-the-art, high-fidelity simulation equipment we already have in place in our SIM lab,” Moon said.  

New equipment will include newborn, pediatric and adult models, patient monitors, wound care kits and accompanying software, an Electronic Medical Record program, an Omnicell Medication Dispenser and crash carts — all designed to prepare nursing students for what they will experience in a clinical setting.  

Under guidelines issued by the Senate and House Appropriations Committees, members of Congress requested CDS funding for projects in their state for Fiscal Year 2022. CDS requests were restricted to a limited number of federal funding streams, and only state and local governments and eligible non-profit entities were permitted to receive CDS funding.

This project is one of 10 CDS projects submitted by Congressman Neal, totaling over $9 million in investments throughout the First Congressional District of Massachusetts.

BCC has offered a thriving Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program since 1969. The College also offers a one-year Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) certificate program and collaborates with UMass Amherst to offer a bachelor of science degree in nursing. A partnership with BCC, Berkshire Health Systems (BHS), BHS affiliates and others — including Berkshire Place, Mount Carmel Care Center and Lee HealthCare — provides clinical training and employment opportunities for graduates. BCC also works with BHS to offer a 90-hour Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program several times annually.