Welcome to the Teddy Bear Hospital
This article was written by Jocelyn Tan Xin Yi (PU-RCSI) for the AMSA International Newsletter. The article, as it originally appeared, can be read here (pages 52-54)
Doesn’t Teddy Bear Hospital sound strange to you? Is it a hospital filled with teddy bears? Of course not! This program was established by several medical universities in Europe with the goal to educate simple health concepts to young children aged between 4-7. A make-believe hospital is set up and children are told to bring their “sick/unwell/wounded” teddy bears or plush toys for treatment. Children will then role-play as parents and witness the whole process on how their teddy bears are fixed or healed.
Throughout this process, Teddy Bear Hospital aims to alleviate children’s anxiety towards doctors as well as eliminate the “white coat syndrome”. AMSA Perdana University is extremely honored to be in permanent collaboration with IMACATS (IMAM Children and Teens Super Team) for this program. We’re currently still in the process of becoming one of the pioneer universities to conduct the Teddy Bear Hospital Student Chapter in Malaysia. Till date, we have successfully conducted two Teddy Bear Hospital Sessions which were at AEON 2 Seremban Mall and Q-dees Kindergarten, Subang Bestari.
Before each event, all student volunteers are required to attend a one-day training session conducted by representatives from IMACATS. This training session briefly introduces what is Teddy Bear Hospital and how to become a good “Teddy Doctor”. Some role play tips were given on how to interact with the children and their teddy bears. We were also briefed on the job scopes of each station which includes: Registration, Teddy Sees Doctor, Teddy Gets Fixed, Teddy Eats Healthy, Teddy Gets Exercise and Photo Booth.
Each station involves student volunteers to treat the teddy bear as their patient and allow the children to involve actively in the treatment process. At the Teddy Sees Doctor and Teddy Gets Fixed stations, student volunteers are required to do medical checkups and give medical treatment to the teddies according to “patient history” presented by the children. At Teddy Eats Healthy and Teddy Gets Exercise station, student volunteers will teach the children how to eat healthy and also do some fun exercises to keep fit. At the photo booth, the children can take pictures with their teddies while wearing a mini white coat and stethoscope toy as a token of memory.
For both of our sessions, we have received many positive feedbacks from parents who accompanied their children for the sessions. We also had some parents who commented that their child had a lot of fun and felt less afraid of doctors with white coats after the session. Our student volunteers too gave good responds saying that this program improved their communication skills with younger children.
In short, we do sincerely hope that the Teddy Bear Student Chapter can be another successful program in all other AMSA Malaysia Universities as well as other AMSA Chapters worldwide.