PARKER, Colo. (CBS4) – The University of Colorado is expanding south. This fall nursing students will be able to earn their degree in Douglas County. It’s an effort to offer classes close to highly populated neighborhoods.

John Tracey, 60 has chest pain. Caring for him is the challenge for student nurses at the University Of Colorado.

The new facility in Parker (credit: CBS)

The new facility in Parker (credit: CBS)

“Is it crushing? Does it feel like pressure? Sharp?” a student nurse asked Tracey.

Tracey is no dummy — he’s a high fidelity mannequin run by an instructor. Students listen to his heart and even see him sweat. It’s as close to a real emergency as they can get.

“The student nurses are able to make mistakes here. It’s a safe controlled environment,” Fara Bowler with the CU College of Nursing said.

Head south of Denver and there’s another simulation lab in the making in an unlikely location. The Wildlife Experience in Parker is known for its animal museum, but come fall, the nature exhibits will share space with a College of Nursing.

“South is where about a third of the new residents are coming into the Denver area,” Marcia Gilbert with CU College of Nursing said.

With the need for nurses, CU decided to bring the classrooms to the students. For Meredith Jameson from Littleton it will be a 20-minute drive.

“My commute currently out here to Anschutz is 45 minutes on a good day. On a bad day I’ve spent 2 ½ hours in my car,” Jameson said.

In all six CU schools will expand south. The university had the need and the Wildlife Experience had the room. It’s a match that just makes sense.


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