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Sore paws and broken bones are likely to be typical complaints at the second annual Teddy Bear Hospital, taking place this year at the Otara Leisure Centre in South Auckland on Saturday 28 July and also at Starship Children’s Hospital on Saturday 4 August.
The Teddy Bear Hospital is run by University of Auckland medical students for young children and their teddies. Children bring their “sick” teddies in for treatment and medical students use the experience to teach children and families about healthy living and help children to feel comfortable in a medical environment.
A range of activity stations offer x-rays of the teddy, anatomy, height and weight testing for teddies and children, and general first aid.
The children get full access to experiment and play with all of the doctor’s equipment in order to demystify an experience that could otherwise be quite daunting. The children get to use a stethoscope, blood pressure cuff and even an otoscope to look inside Teddy’s ears. After performing the check-up, they get to visit the doctor and fix whatever it is they have diagnosed is wrong with their teddy. They can use soft bandages, plasters, nebulizers, injections (without the needle!) and even full body casts.
“Teddy Bear Hospitals can be an effective way of reducing the anxiety children can feel towards medical procedures and hospitalisation. The Teddy Bear Hospital is also a great opportunity for medical students to interact with children in a medical setting,” says Zoe Dyer, Teddy Doctor and medical student.
The first Teddy Bear Hospital was held in 2011 at the Well Child Clinic in Auckland’s Greenlane Hospital. Pre-school children from kindergartens in the area were invited to attend.
The University of Auckland Department of Paediatrics and the students are excited about expanding the project in 2012 to hold two sessions this year and invite the wider community.
More than 120 University of Auckland medical students have volunteered to take part as Teddy Doctors, and hundreds of children and their teddies are expected to attend the two clinics.
Teddy Bear Hospitals have taken place in a number of medical schools around the world and aim to teach children about the world of medicine and health and how it affects them in a fun, friendly and safe environment.
Teddy Bear Hospital is a global project run by the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations, of which New Zealand Medical Students’ Association is a member. The Teddy Bear Hospital in Auckland is sponsored by Starship Foundation, Simpson Grierson, Medical Assurance Society, Rotary Club of St John’s, Print Centre, Surreal Printing and The New Zealand Medical Students Association.
For information on how to attend the Teddy Bear Hospital, please visit www.teddybearhospital.co.nz