Washington-Based Spacelabs Makes $720,000 Investment in UMass Amherst Nursing Program in Springfield

Heather Hamilton, left,
Heather Hamilton, simulation lab director, left, with nursing students.
UMass Center at Springfield’s nursing laboratory’s state-of-the-art equipment includes Sonicaid fetal/maternal monitors, ambulatory blood pressure monitors, multiple nursing monitors and invasive cardiac outputs from Spacelabs Healthcare.
UMass Center at Springfield’s nursing laboratory includes state-of-the-art equipment from Spacelabs Healthcare.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Spacelabs Healthcare, a Snoqualmie, Washington-based medical equipment manufacturer, today unveiled its $720,000 investment into the UMass Center at Springfield’s nursing laboratory.

The state-of-the-art Spacelabs equipment includes two Sonicaid fetal/maternal monitors, ambulatory blood pressure monitors, multiple nursing monitors, and invasive cardiac outputs that will benefit the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s College of Nursing Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program, which serves as a pipeline for highly trained nurses into the region’s healthcare sector.

Area public officials, hospital administrators and UMass alumni joined UMass Amherst ChancellorKumble R. Subbaswamy, Spacelabs President Sujit Kumar and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno for the grand opening of the newly expanded nursing lab.

The event provided an opportunity to show hospital and community leaders the investment Spacelabs has made in the Springfield and UMass community. The equipment will be primarily used by UMass Amherst nursing students in the accelerated program, which is based in Springfield.

“It’s exciting that Spacelabs understand the benefits of investing in the College of Nursing,” Subbaswamy said. “Nurses are at the frontline of healthcare, using these tools extensively. By providing our students with access to this equipment and fostering faculty research partnerships, Spacelabs has created an opportunity to develop the best possible healthcare management tools while contributing to our students’ educational experience and job training.”

Spacelabs Healthcare was founded in 1958 by two scientists, Ben Ettelson and James A. Reeves. The company developed cardiac monitoring and telemetry systems for NASA that were used to monitor astronauts’ vital signs in the early Gemini and the following Apollo space missions.

“Today, we see many of the most important advances in healthcare are coming from outstanding interdisciplinary research and training programs like UMass Amherst,” said Kumar. “We are proud of our relationship with UMass and the College of Nursing, and are impressed by the quality education they provide nursing students who serve the greater Springfield area.”

The 17-month Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program moved to the UMass Center in Springfield in 2017, making Spacelabs’ gifts an opportunity to improve the students’ experience in the nursing lab. By learning at the Springfield center, students are in close proximity to some of the area’s leading healthcare facilities, where they complete the clinical portion of their education. Since the program moved to Springfield, 10 new seats have been added to each incoming class to create space for 95 students. Applications also have nearly doubled from about 250 a year to around 450 for the most recent class.

Stephen Cavanagh, dean of the College of Nursing, added that the accelerated program is a valuable pipeline for western Massachusetts healthcare providers with many students seeking employment in the region after graduation. The introduction of the Spacelabs equipment and the ability to simulate managing multiple patients simultaneously gives students opportunities to work at new levels of real-world situations. Students will now be able to develop critical thinking and psychomotor skills in a safe environment created to enhance patient safety and health outcomes.

“We are delighted that Spacelabs Healthcare, a West Coast company, has decided to partner with our highly ranked College of Nursing,” Cavanagh said. “Our students at the Springfield center will use Spacelabs equipment for inter-professional education initiatives with other colleges and healthcare providers in Springfield and western Massachusetts.”

Student ambassadors from the accelerated program were on hand at the event today to perform demonstrations with the equipment.

Spacelabs Healthcare, Inc. (www.spacelabshealthcare.com), a subsidiary of OSI Systems, Inc., is an international developer, manufacturer and distributor of medical equipment and services, including solutions for patient monitoring and connectivity, anesthesia delivery and ventilation, diagnostic cardiology, and supplies and accessories selling to hospitals, clinics, and physician offices. The company has offices in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, China and Singapore, and distributors in more than 100 countries around the world.