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CU College of Nursing UCAN Student Josh Maner

From Breweries to the Bedside: Joshua Maner Scales Peaks in Work and Life

Interpersonal skills, healthcare experience make UCAN student an ideal nurse

Written by Bob Mook on December 2, 2022

An avid climber, Joshua Maner figuratively rappelled from managing breweries to nursing in a fairly short time span. His life’s journey traversed from a 200-acre farmhouse in Tennessee to the East Coast, and finally to Colorado.

Soon after graduating from college, Maner was living a young man’s dream of serving beverages to thirsty customers as a manager of breweries and bars in Portland, Maine.

“I majored in biochemistry and quickly decided I wanted nothing to do with it,” Maner says.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, business dried up, and Maner found himself without a job.

Fortunately, he saw the writing on the wall before the pandemic and got training as an emergency medical technician (EMT) while managing bars.

“I knew in my gut the services-industry life wouldn’t last forever,” he says. “It’s pretty taxing physically and mentally.”

Gifted with great interpersonal skills, Maner was raised in a 200-acre farm in Maryville, Tenn. – just northeast of the Great Smoky Mountains. He describes his childhood as idyllic. Growing up, he was strongly influenced by his uncle, an ER nurse in Summit County and visited him in Colorado after the Maine brewery went bust.

“Once I got to Colorado, I knew it was the right place for me,” he says.

Upon completing his EMT training, he landed a job in Breckenridge, Colo., and moved to a higher elevation.

The leap to CU Nursing

While still residing in Maine, he applied for a spot in the University of Colorado Accelerated Nursing Bachelor’s program (UCAN) and was later admitted.


UCAN Student Josh Maner on a climbing break.

“Taking a 12-month program to switch careers is tough, but I was ready to dive into another career,” he says. “It’s a competitive program, but I felt like it was really where I wanted to be.”

Throughout the program, Maner formed some close friendships that grew stronger when the class shifted from online learning to the classroom in May, 2022. He started working as a nurse apprentice at Denver Health in September, 2022 and will graduate from UCAN in December, 2022.

After graduation, Maner has a job lined up with Denver Health as a medical surgical nurse.

“Working at a safety net hospital is where I can make the biggest difference,” he says. “The patients are very appreciative of the care they are getting.”

When he’s not working, Maner plays soccer twice a week. He is an active member of the UCAN climbing club. He also serves as vice president of the CU Student Nurses Association.

As he prepares to graduate, Maner offers this advice for future UCAN students:

“Exhale,” he says. “It only gets better. Do your best to take it one thing at a time. As long as you are doing one thing, you are doing enough.”

Topics: Students