By Steve Jansen

Teddy Bear Health Care

Little ones play doctor for a day on May 8

The hospital isn't usually at the top of the list for a preferred hangout spot, especially for kids, but a program sponsored by the UNM Children's Hospital shows a doctor's visit doesn't have to be an anxiety-producing experience.

"We want children to not always think of the hospital as a scary place, but a place that people come to get better, and know that many friendly people work here," says Jennifer Kean, interim director of the hospital's Child Life program.

On Tuesday, May 8, from 8:30 a.m. to noon, children from all over the community will converge on the hospital for the ninth annual Teddy Bear Hospital. The event allows Albuquerque-area pre-school and kindergarten students to have a blast while playing doctor for the day on their favorite teddy bear or stuffed animal.

As each child brings his or her beloved soft toy to the "hospital," the stuffed animal will be checked in and receive a bracelet nametag. From there, "they begin going through stations, such as the operating room surgery table, in which they can dress up and see why their teddy bear may have a tummy ache," Kean says. "Possibly too many fruit snacks?"

"My favorite part of Teddy Bear Hospital is seeing the smiles and hearing the laughter of all of the children," says Kean, who adds that the event desensitizes kids to some of the things that they may see at the hospital. "It's a fun day for classes to take a field trip and learn about different areas of the hospital," she says.

The ninth annual Teddy Bear Hospital is scheduled to take place at the UNM School of Medicine's Department of Emergency Medicine building (located across from the Barbara & Bill Richardson Pavilion). The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call Child Life at 505-272-2671.

Categories: Community Engagement, Health, Top Stories