Mackay’s sick Teddy Bears can look forward to a visit from the “doctor” over the next few months.
James Cook University’s medical students will be visiting a number of primary schools and pre-schools as part of an educational community health program known as “The Teddy Bear Hospital”.
Modelled on the internationally renowned program, which was established by the IFMSA (International Federation of Medical Students’ Association), the Teddy Bear Hospital has two main aims:
To educate children about health lifestyles and preventative care
To help alleviate the fear that children experience when visiting the doctor/health professionals
Dr Lisa Byrom, a medical intern at Mackay Base Hospital, said that the aims were achieved through play and activities which allow education and exposure for children in a comfortable, familiar and fun environment thus reducing anxiety and increasing enjoyment.
“Our first visit is to the Victoria Park Primary School on April 26 and 27 and we will be asking the prep children to bring along their teddy bears for treatment,” said Mary Hardimon, a 6th year JCU medical student.
“The doctors – fifth and sixth year medical students - then treat the teddies for such things as sore throats or broken limbs and the children are encouraged to help by using some of the medical equipment such as stethoscopes.”
About 50 prep students are seen on each visit and participate in a number of programs involving:
Fun in the sun – education about sun safety and craft activity;
Exercise – education about exercise and games based activity eg. relay race, red rover;
Nutrition and Dental Health – education about different types of food and the importance of brushing one’s teeth; and,
Visiting the Doctor with their “sick” teddy.
Mary said that the program also benefited the medical students by furthering their knowledge about paediatrics and improving their communication skills when interacting with young children.
Apart from the visit to Victoria Park Primary School, visits have also been confirmed for Mackay North Preschool (May 21 and 28) and Fitzgerald Primary School (July 24 and 26).
Issued: April 20, 2012
JCU Media Liaison, Jim O’Brien 07 4781 4822