Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - CHRIS McMA­HON

TEDDY bears are get­ting life­sav­ing help from James Cook Univer­sity med­i­cal stu­dents, while chil­dren learn that go­ing to the doc­tor isn’t so scary.

The Teddy Bear Hos­pi­tal is up and run­ning, with vol­un­teer med­i­cal stu­dents from JCU vis­it­ing pri­mary schools and help­ing stu­dents get over their fear of doc­tors, while teach­ing them about healthy lifestyle habits.

Un­der the pro­gram, each stu­dent brings their own teddy bear and pre­tends to be a doc­tor to their furry friend, help­ing chil­dren to over­come fears and see first- hand what doc­tors do dur­ing an ex­am­i­na­tion.

Teddy Bear Hos­pi­tal Townsville co- or­di­na­tor and fourth- year med­i­cal stu­dent Gabrielle Dent said it was a great way to help chil­dren to learn in an in­ter­ac­tive way.

“We go out to the schools and set up four dif­fer­ent sta- tions: there’s ex­er­cis­ing, nutri­tion and den­tal health, sun safety and vis­it­ing the doc­tor,” Ms Dent said.

“We are aim­ing to give key health mes­sages ... while we also tackle the fear of go­ing to the doc­tor, whether it’s get­ting a nee­dle or drink­ing yucky medicine.

“If you ask them ques­tions af­ter they’ve fin­ished go­ing around the sta­tions, hands will shoot up straight away and they are all very ex­cited to take away what they’ve learnt.”

A to­tal of 40 med­i­cal stu­dents from JCU are help­ing to spread the mes­sage in Townsville schools.

“We are all vol­un­teers, these are med­i­cal stu­dents who like to get back out into the com­mu­nity and get in­volved, which is a big fo­cus of our de­gree,” Ms Dent said.

“We have con­tacted all the schools in Townsville and we are hop­ing to get around to a lot of them as soon as we can.”

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