STUDENTS at Kalianna Special School tried on a doctor’s coat for size yesterday as part of a touring Teddy Bear Hospital workshop.
About 25 Monash medical students on rotation at Bendigo Health visited the school to familiarise primary school-age children with medical practices in a safe and fun environment.
Students from grades two, three and four were encouraged to bring in their own teddy bears to act as patients in a number of role-play scenarios. Activities included plastering, taking X-rays, surgery, hand hygiene, general practice, injections, healthy eating and what to do in an emergency.
Teddy Bear Hospital director Leisel Trompf said the program aimed to alleviate the “white coat anxiety” many feel when visiting health professionals.
But the benefits were not limited to participants.
“Part of medicine is about educating people about medicines and general health,” she said.
“We find that when medical students have taken part in the program, they will come out of it with a much better understanding of working with children in terms of communication skills and confidence.”
Fourth-year medical student Adelene Hilbig was tasked with co-ordinating the visit.
She said up to eight weeks of preparation had gone into the event.
“This was something fairly new to me so it has been great to see the kids really respond well to what we are doing,” she said.
Kalianna teacher Kirsty Chandler said the visit was a hit among students. “They loved it,” she said. “It has been really engaging and the activities were very age appropriate.”