Otago University Medical Students’ Association (OUMSA) has run its adorable Teddy Bear Hospital for the eighth year in a row.
Busloads of kindergarteners arrived at Elim Church and the Hunter Centre last week to get check-ups for their soft toys. Health Professional students donned their lab coats and stethoscopes and did consultations.
Savannah Adams, OUMSA Community Outreach Officer and Co-Leader of the Teddy Bear Hospital Committee, said Teddy Bear Hospital is about reducing the “anxiety and apprehension kids feel around the medical environment.” Toy doctors, dentists, physios and pharmacists make a normally scary experience “more friendly [for kids] by going through a teddy”. The soft toys get bandaged up and the children get to take home a certificate and a teddy bear x-ray.
Megan Lord, Co-Leader of the Teddy Bear Hospital Committee, says “Teddy Bear Hospital is so rewarding” for everyone involved. The kids are “wonderful and well-behaved” and get a “‘simulated doctor experience’ through the treatment of their teddies.” The University students involved “come away saying how heartfelt the experience is”.
Adams said “pre-schools don’t have huge engagement with the University, so it’s great to involve them. We have a loyal following from the preschools. We send our bookings out and they just fill up.”
This year Teddy Bear Hospital offered Te Reo consultations at Community Day, which was a new addition to the event the committee hopes will continue.
Lord said it’s great to see how everyone “plays a massive part in making this event happen – the kindies that visit, the students that volunteer their time, the sponsors that we attain, the extra help we get from other staff and students and of course our wonderful committee members.”