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Teddy doctors help ease hospital anxiety

MEDICAL practitioners from the “Teddy Bear Hospital” paid a friendly visit to kindergarten and prep students at John Paul II Catholic School on Tuesday 26 July to help reduce their fear of visiting the doctor.

Eighteen University of Tasmania medicine students, ranging from third to fifth year, acted as “teddy doctors”, setting up pop-up stations for the children and their teddies to visit.

These stations included the teddy waiting room, teddy emergency and teddy GP and featured a range of activities from calling the ambulance and looking into teddy’s ears to immunisations and keeping still for x-rays.

John Paul II Catholic School principal Fran Bearman said the Teddy Bear Hospital helped reduce any anxiety children had about doctors and health care.

Ms Bearman said this was done through non-threatening, fun role-play activities that also promoted the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

“Kindergarten and prep children and their teddies had a wonderful time visiting the activity stations and learning about staying healthy and what happens if you visit hospital,” she said.

“Teddy surgery was definitely one of the favourite stations as a giant teddy was unzipped through the middle and surgery performed.”

Ms Bearman said the university students also benefited from the activity, which encouraged them to interact with the children and gain a better understanding of the role of doctors from a child’s perspective.

Caption: Kindergarten student Aaron Okumu beams with delight as he participates in the teddy bear hospital, which visited John Paul II Catholic School recently and examined sick bears.