Who Are We?
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
The 2019 Teddy Bear Hospital Committee
This year’s committee consists of University of Otago third year medical students Olivia Brown, Josephine Schafer, Renee Ashton, Phoebe Johnson and Ellen O’Byrne.
Our 2nd and 3rd year University of Otago Medical Students transform once a year into Teddy Doctors. With lots of laughs, plenty of fun, and some learning, we hope to show children that Doctors and Health Professionals are not as scary as they seem.
In the past we have worked with a variety of different children. From those who come along just to have a great time, to others who have had terrifying medical experiences or past procedures. Having a positive experience with white coats and unfamiliar equipment can help make children much more comfortable with visiting their Doctor, making your job as parents just a little bit easier.
The Teddy Bear Hospital is also a great learning oppurtunity for us as students. We believe that it is important that Doctors can make children feel safe as part of their medical treatment, especially in situations children find scary. As some of our classmates have not had an opportunity to interact with kids, this week helps us to develop our clinical skills.
The New Zealand Dental Students Association (NZDSA) has been established for 82 years to support and represent the Dentistry, Dental Technology and Oral Health students at Otago University. Over the years, the NZDSA has been passionate about working together to show support for worthy causes and this year, we are very excited to be involved in the Teddy Bear Hospital.
Having had some experience in paediatric dentistry, our students understand how anxious children can get when visiting the dentist and it is important to us that we try to help children overcome this fear so that it does not continue later in life, having serious implications for their future oral health. Introducing children to dentistry in a supportive, friendly environment, like the Teddy Bear Hospital, is an excellent experience for the students as they get to understand more about the causes of children’s anxiety and possible ways to mitigate these in the clinics. We look forward to the opportunity to support the children and make their experience at the dentist a fun and stress-free one.
This year the Teddy Bear Hospital will be a joint venture between the Otago Medical School TBH Committee (a New Zealand Medical Students Association group) and Otago Dentistry School. The Otago Pharmacy and Physiotherapy Schools, joined this year by Otago Polytechnic School of Nursing, are also a part of Community Day. Together we have a keen interest in children’s health. The Teddy Bear Hospital is a great opportunity for MSGA to interact with parents and caregivers, and talk about their experiences of the New Zealand health system. This allows us to develop our understanding of the problems that children and caregivers face, building on these experiences throughout our training and in our future careers as doctors.