Patients at Beaumont Children’s Hospital, Royal Oak, recently learned the basics of applying casts, reading X-rays, inserting IVs, and more, all with the help of students from Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine.
Teddy Bear Clinic at Beaumont Children’s Hospital led by students from Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine
Teddy Bear Clinic 1a

Patients at Beaumont Children’s Hospital, Royal Oak, recently learned the basics of applying casts, reading X-rays, inserting IVs, and more, all with the help of students from Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine.

A Teddy Bear Clinic was led by about a dozen OUWB students from the school’s Pediatric Interest Group on Friday, Nov. 1.

During the special clinic, the children had their own “patients” in the form of stuffed animals, aka Beau the Bear (the official mascot of the hospital). OUWB students were set up at stations in the Children’s Miracle Network Garden, located within the hospital, where they helped the children care for their bears.

Amanda Lefkof, Child Life Specialist, Beaumont Children’s, said the clinic serves multiple purposes.

“We like to do (Teddy Bear Clinics) to offer the kids an opportunity to have a kind of control over their experience,” said. “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.

“It’s also a way to explore the different procedures that are happening to them in a safe and playful way,” she added.

Helen Huetteman, vice president, OUWB Pediatric Interest Group, was among those who participated in the Teddy Bear Clinic. The second-year medical student worked at the cast station.

“It’s really important for us to get involved with activities at Beaumont, especially during our first two years,” she said. “It’s really helpful that we have this connection…and that they let us come here and lead events like this.”

Huetteman said the Teddy Bear Clinic is a great activity because it doesn’t involve a lot of supplies, yet seems effective.

OUWB M1 Cheryne Kim said the clinic meant a nice break from studying — and a lot more.

“(OUWB medical students) do need an occasional reminder of what we’re doing all of this for in the end,” she said. “Being with these kids is the best way to remind yourself.”

Kim also said the Teddy Bear Clinic allowed for her to continue practicing her communication skills with children.

“Communicating and interacting with kids is such a nuanced thing that’s very different than when you’re interacting with adults…this sort of practice is really good for not only familiarizing yourself with the environment but really speaking at their level,” she said.

OUWB M2 Kevin Roby said he participated in the clinic to “hopefully help the kids have fun.”

“Whether (the children) are newly diagnosed, or have been here a long time, we’re hopefully giving them a little break,” he said.

Roby, who said he is seriously considering specializing in pediatrics, admitted he liked the break, too, as he was in the middle of studying for a big exam he had the following Monday.

“There’s really no place I’d rather be because this is so special to me,” he said.

M1 Krickett Kazyak expressed similar feelings.

“Being in a hospital can be traumatizing for children and I enjoy teaching them that things aren’t that scary, even if they might seem that way,” she said. “If I can contribute to that relief in stress in even a small way, it’s a great day.”

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, marketing writer, OUWB, at adietderich@oakland.edu

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