Visiting the hospital or the doctor can be a stressful experience for a child. Aiming to dispel some of this anxiety, Warwick Medical School students have founded the Warwick Teddy Bear Hospital – a public health project aimed at children between three and seven.
The group visits primary schools to meet children and their teddy bears. During the session, the students teach children about healthy eating, the human body, and the emergency services; they end up with a visit to the Teddy Bear Clinic.
Third year medical student Claire Sogeler, one of the founding members of the group, explained that the children are encouraged to draw a picture of what is wrong with their bears. Then the medical students examine each bear and write a prescription. ‘Usually,’ says Claire, ‘it will be for extra hugs or TLC.’
This is a teaching tool not just for the children but for the medical students as well. The children are shown that going to the doctor’s is nothing to be afraid of and the medical students, as future doctors, get invaluable experience of talking to children. As for the bears – well, it’s all just a picnic…