Hospitals and Medical centres can cause a lot of anxiety for children. They are an unfamiliar environment with large frightening buildings, strange equipment and scary people. This can often be overwhelming for kids, particularly when they are sick. This initiative aims to reduce this anxiety and show kids that going to the Doctors doesn’t have to cause fear.
Before children have a bad experience they can have the chance to see that visiting health professionals is not daunting or scary but exciting, and something they can be a part of.
The events are part of a global project run by the International Federation of Medical Students Association’s (IFMSA). The Teddy Bear Hospital is a New Zealand Medical Students’ Assocation (NZMSA) initiative designed to reduce childrens anxiety towards medical professionals. It started in 2011 in both Auckland and Dunedin. It is designed to expose kids to the medical world in a fun and exciting way. Medical and dentistry students will transform into Teddy Doctors and Dentists for a day- and kids bring their teddies to get their checkups. They can also explore the St Johns Ambulance, check out some real bones and anatomy models, and lots of other fun activities.
During the week the Teddy Bear Clinic is open to Preschools, Kindergartens, Playcentres and Home-Based Childcare Providers to bring groups of children to sessions.
Bookings can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by responding to the invitation email we send out around March each year.
Each booking will involve the children being able to see a Teddy Doctor and Teddy Dentist as well as being able to take part in some fun activities run by other Medical Students.
The weekday clinics are held the same week as community day, Monday 10th – Friday 14th May at Elim Church.
Community Day runs on the Saturday of the same week and is for members of the general public to get involved. The event is designed for children between 3-7, but it is open to any age- particuarly children or siblings in families who have had a hard time with Doctors in the past. Each appointment slot of Community Day is 20 minutes long and involves seeing a Teddy Doctor, Dentist, Pharmacist (to get to teddy’s prescription for fruit), Nurses and Physios.
We have lots of awesome activities and things to see planned for Community Day.
At the North Dunedin Community Day there will be face painting, St John’s Ambulance Tours, Fairy Rosalind, a bouncy castle, sausage sizzle and even a popcorn stand!!
South Dunedin Community Day also has many fun activities such as obstacle courses by Sports Otago, Read, Grow and Share project as well as a sausage sizzle, tea + coffee for parents and that same day a Market Day will be running in the School Hall !!