Going to the doctor or seeing friends and family ill or in
hospital can be scary if you’re a small child.
But the Teddy Bear Hospital is helping to make children feel at ease in medical situations.
The University's Teddy Bear Hospital program was started in 2013 by senior Medical students Angie Gates, Jess Paine and Nicole Choroszy under the guidance of Faculty of Health academic Dr Judi Errey.
The Teddy Bear Hospital aims to reduce any anxiety children may have about doctors and health care through non-threatening, fun role-plays, and at the same time promote the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
The Medicine students act as "Teddy Doctors" and take children and their bears through a range of different activity stations, each simulating different health care scenarios.
The stations include Teddy Waiting Room, Teddy Emergency, Teddy GP and Healthy Teddy.
There are also activities such as how to call an ambulance, immunising teddy, and keeping still for x-rays. The program recently expanded to include stations on the importance of hand washing and healthy eating.
There have been sessions held in multiple Hobart primary schools.
The Teddy Bear Hospital concept was founded by the International Federation of Medical Students Associations and the University's version is modelled on existing programs run by a number of universities in Australia and overseas.
Dr Errey said the benefits of the program were two-fold.
We see the Teddy Bear Hospital as an extremely valuable program that has positive benefits for both our Medical students and the children they are working with, said Dr Errey.
“Our Medical students benefit from interaction with healthy children, and also gain a better understanding of the role of doctors from a child's perspective.”
Dr Errey said the feedback from schools that had hosted program sessions was consistently positive, and more school visits were planned for the future.
Children are invited to bring their teddies to Science Worth Seeing for a check-up.