Lane Health Center aims to alleviate health care woes

Sept. 2, 2013

Crystal Chilcott
cchilcot@uccs.edu

Nursing students at UCCS will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience as they work in a new health clinic at UCCS.

The Lane Center, which is being constructed on North Nevada Avenue, is slated to open in early 2014 and includes a nurse-managed clinic, itself a relatively new development.

“This clinic will be one of the first ones completely integrated,” Jeff Spicher, assistant professor in the nursing department, said.

The clinic goes beyond a typical drop-in visit. In addition to nurse practitioners, there will be a nutritionist for dietary consultation, a center for active living, a trauma center, a psychology department and a behavioral health center.

“We can treat anything we feel comfortable treating,” Spicher said. “Someone can stop by if they have a sore throat, but we’re also equipped to handle larger, more complex cases.”

The difference between nurse-managed clinics and typical health care centers is the lack of physicians. At clinics, medical care is given by advanced nurse practitioners, and according to Spicher, more time is spent with each patient on average.

“People typically like that there is more help. We try to educate each patient. With primary care providers, patients usually only get 10 to 15 minutes of attention. We will spend 20 to 30 minutes and sometimes more with our patients,” Spicher said.

The integrated clinic goes beyond a typical drop in visit. In addition to the nurse practitioners, the new project will include a nutritionist for dietary consultation, a center for active living, a trauma center, a psychology department and a behavior health center.

“We can treat anything we feel comfortable treating,” Spicher said. “Someone can stop by if they have a sore throat, but we’re also equipped to handle larger, more complex cases.”

Spicher doesn’t see the clinic as a way to compete with the Student Health Center, where he also works, or with primary care providers in town.

He stated they are willing to work with primary care in town or are willing to provide primary care themselves. He views the clinic as cutting edge in a growing need for health insurance and a lack of primary care providers.

“Nurse-managed clinics are something to support and help the health care system. There is a huge influx of demand with the ‘shortage of physicians.’ The medical field is trying different avenues to relieve the strain,” pre-med student Mason Cullen said.

With quality health care and more options, more nurse-managed clinics could open in the near future.

“Collaborative medicine is the upcoming approach to health care,” said Jerry Phillips, Ph. D and director of the Center for Excellence in Science.

With the new clinic, UCCS students will have the opportunity to gain experience in the medical field. Graduate nursing students in particular will have the opportunity to use the clinic as a “learning laboratory.”

Psychology students may be involved as well, but the department could not be reached for comment.