“Assistant professor Carol Lynn Maxwell-Thompson conducted a Teddy Bear Clinic at Clark Elementary School in Charlottesville. The purpose of the clinic was to familiarize 3- and 4-year-old children in the preschool program with nurses and medical instruments. Karen Grove, an alumna of U.Va.’s School of Nursing and current librarian at Clark Elementary, came up with the idea for the clinic to encourage preschoolers to be more enthusiastic about getting regular checkups. Faculty, staff and students at the Nursing School made personal contributions to buy 56 identical teddy bears through U.Va. Bookstore buyer Jan Taylor, who provided a discounted price.”
Each child was given a bear (each with a special name) at the beginning of the process, and it was explained to the three- and four-year-olds that their bears were sick and needed the help of a nurse and doctor. It’s hoped that the exercise will be repeated at other venues and that the community’s children will learn to lose their fear of doctors, nurses, and hospitals.
Cummins again: “Nursing students showed the children what the medical instruments did and the children began checking out their bears; they looked down the bears’ throats with flashlights and tongue depressors, checked heart rate and listened to lungs with a stethoscope, learned how to check blood pressure and temperature, and weighed their bears.”
It’s not known to what extent that children from different social groups fear medical practitioners and procedures.