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Teddy Bears Ease Anxieties Of First-Time Hospital Visit

Dec 12, 2014 11:41AM, Published by Julie Slama, Categories: Education, Today


St. John the Baptist second-graders have their teddy bears examined as part of Lone Peak Hospital’s Teddy Bear Clinic designed to familiarize youngsters with hospital services. Photo courtesy of Nevah Stevenson



First- and second-graders’ teddy bears were X-rayed, weighed, had their hearts listened to and their blood pressure taken at Lone Peak Hospital recently — all part of a field trip to familiarize students with how hospitals serve their communities.

About 90 St. John the Baptist second-graders prepared for the Nov. 21 visit by reading a non-fiction story about emergency room people and services and also studied hospital and ambulance workers as part of their social studies unit.

“This helped our students be more prepared for what they were to learn on this field trip,” teacher Stephanie Molloy said. “They were able to ask more meaningful questions and understand the roles everyone has to help those who come in needing services at the hospital.”

As part of the hospital’s Teddy Bear Clinic, students visited four stations, not the actual rooms, to learn about the services hospitals provide. To start the 30-minute tour, students went to labor and delivery where they each received a “newborn” or a teddy bear. They learned basic care of babies after they are born and had their bears weighed and their vital signs taken.

At the X-ray station, a bear had its images taken, ensuring that all stuffing was in place or rather, that there were no broken bones. However, the X-ray technician’s bear revealed broken bones so students learned what a fracture looked like and how to take care of a broken bone. The bears received T-shirts at this station that said, “I got my first hug at Lone Peak Hospital.”

 Students learned about procedures in the emergency room and what to expect if someone undergoes surgery and see the tools surgeons use. They also received hand sanitizer and slings for their bears that said, “To improve the lives we touch.” Afterward, they checked out an ambulance.

“The students asked some great questions like how X-ray waves work and how a broken bone heals itself. They learned why it is important for their parents to pull over when an ambulance has flashing lights and now know that an ambulance’s lights are different colors than a police car’s,” Molloy said.

She plans to have students write how the hospital helps its community as a class writing assignment, but knows the impressions of the field trip will last longer. Molloy’s own second-grade daughter has “loved the bear so much, that we’ve already given the bear stitches.”

“It’s great that they reached out to give our students a chance to learn about a community resource. It’s one of the best — most educational — field trips our students have experienced,” she said.

It’s also the first time Lone Peak Hospital has offered a field trip, Marketing Manager Travis Smith said.

“We wanted kids to have a great first time at the hospital, not a scary one,” he said. “This way, they can look around, ask questions, and be introduced to a hospital and have any anxieties dispelled. We plan to invite other area students to it in the spring and make it an annual event.”

About 125 Draper Elementary first-graders also visited the hospital.

“Utah’s first-grade social studies core focuses on community helpers, so learning about the jobs at the local hospital was a prefect match for what our students are learning about in class,” Principal Piper Riddle said. “Students that may have initially been worried or nervous about going to a hospital now have had a chance to experience firsthand the many ways that hospitals help us.”                


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