A medical student is given the choice of either studying for yet another test of their emerging medical knowledge or going to a children’s hospital to help patients tend to some stuffed animals in need of casts, IVs and X-rays. It’s a no-brainer to answer the call of the teddy bears.
Indeed, that was the case at Oakland (Mich.) University William Beaumont School of Medicine, where about a dozen med students interested in pediatrics held a teddy bear clinic on Nov. 1.
In a unique form of patient engagement, the students assisted a group of children in taking care of their ill or injured stuffed animals. “We like to do (the clinics) to offer the kids an opportunity to have a kind of control over their experience,” Amanda Lefkof, a child life specialist at Beaumont Children’s, where the clinic was conducted, said in a news release.
“While they’re in the hospital, everything is done to them. With a teddy bear clinic, they step into the role of doctor and they get to be the ones in control,” Lefkof said. In some cases, “it’s also a way to explore the different procedures that are happening to them in a safe and playful way,” she added.
Outliers is thrilled to see the joy and learning coming out of a teddy bear clinic, but now has been given an earworm in the form of the children’s song “The Teddy Bears’ Picnic,” (the Michael Feinstein version, that is).