<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=799546403794687&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

‘Can We Call a Real Doctor?’ Tour Gets Intense for Science Writers

Journalists thrown into emergency simulation during tour of Center for Advancing Professional Excellence (CAPE)

minute read

Written by Kristen O'Neill on October 12, 2023
What You Need To Know

During the Science Writers 2023 conference, a group toured the Center for Advancing Professional Excellence (CAPE), a state-of-the-art simulation facility that annually trains 14,000 students and health professionals.

Science Writers 2023 attendees were treated to a hands-on experience during a tour of the Center for Advancing Professional Excellence (CAPE) at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.

The state-of-the-art simulation facility annually trains 14,000 student learners and health professionals to become more effective communicators and collaborators in both clinical patient settings and demanding team-care environments.


A couple Science Writers 2023 participants triage a severely injured “patient” during their tour of the CAPE facility at CU Anschutz. 

Guided by Curriculum Manager Tanya Russell, PhD, and Simulation Education Project Coordinator Devra Keyes, BS, MS, tour participants were put through the paces, playing the roles of healthcare professionals meeting with patients – portrayed by professional “standardized patient” actors, as well as by high-fidelity mannequins programmed to present with specific conditions.

The participants were encouraged to dialogue and diagnose the patients’ conditions while honing their own communication skills through an emphasis on empathy and active listening.

Attendees threw themselves into the training simulations with gusto, and at times, their lack of healthcare training brought moments of levity to intense situations. During an emergency scenario in which a male motorcyclist had been hit by a car and presented with a collapsed lung, broken femur and rapidly plummeting vital signs, culminating in a seizure mid-exam, one participant asked, “Is there a button we can press to call a real doctor?”


CAPE Simulation Education Project Coordinator Devra Keyes, far right, explains an emergency room exercise to three Science Writers conference participants.


Two Science Writers participants triage a severely injured “patient” during a CAPE simulation exercise.


Science Writers attendees perform an initial examination of an emergency room "patient" during a simulation exercise. CAPE uses high-fidelity mannequins that are programmed to present specific conditions.


Ankita Arora, a Science Writers 2023 participant, monitors an array of "patient-room" screens during a tour of CAPE at CU Anschutz.


Science Writers attendee Ankita Arora, left, asks a "patient" about his symptoms during a training exercise at CAPE.