Callum O'Keeffe and Billy Chan from Milford National School at the teddy bears hospital Picture: Sean Curtin/Fusionshooters
THEY start them young at the University of Limerick.
Over 500 primary school pupils from seven different Limerick schools got a chance to play doctors and nurses on the campus – and help bring teddy back to life.
The UL Graduate Entry Medical School (GEMS) hosted its fourth annual Teddy Bear Hospital last week, an event that continually enthralls young minds, offering them a glimpse at a potential future career.
However, the aim of the event, which has been organised by current medical school students with a particular interest in paediatrics, is to alleviate children’s anxiety about the medical environment, its procedures and the professionals that work within it.
Over 150 first and second year medical students took part in the event which saw the students act as ‘teddy bear doctors’ for the day. Ten medical stations were set up in the University Arena focusing on a wide range of activities, from examining asthma to X-rays.
“Our main goal this year was to expand the number of primary schools we were able to invite to the event. The idea of the event is for primary school students to bring their teddy bear which then plays the role of the patient for the day.
“This visit to the Teddy Bear Hospital provides the children with an opportunity to interact with and assist in a range of simulated healthcare settings, while also allowing them to learn about healthy habits, like the importance of eating well and exercise,” said student Ann Morris.
UL President, professor Don Barry said the Teddy Bear Hospital “has proved to be a magical opportunity for Limerick’s primary school children and a valuable learning experience for all”.
“Each year it gets bigger and better with more and more schools applying to attend.
“The messages that these primary school children will take from the clinic, creates an affirmative and substantial link between the university, its students and healthcare provision and is an extremely valuable programme.”
The Teddy Bear Hospital at the University of Limerick is the first of its kind for the Limerick region.
This initiative in Limerick was run by seven current medical students: Ann Morris, Giulia Martone, Julia Healy, Caity Patterson, Saskia D’Sa, Amy Hannigan and Kristin Delcellier.