Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center (TLRMC) hosted the first of its annual Teddy Bear Clinics on Tuesday, April 30.
The Teddy Bear Clinic is designed to help expose all kindergartners in Grayson County to medical procedures they may have to undergo if they visit the hospital as patients by simulating the procedures on teddy bears, according to TLRMC Director of Planning and Marketing Bill Oldham.
Clinics are set up at four stations in the hospital classrooms and are meant to, hopefully, help kindergartners feel more at ease about undergoing medical procedures and visiting the hospital, in general.
Kathy Dennison, a kindergarten teacher at Caneyville Elementary, said she had been taking her students to the Teddy Bear Clinics for years and feels it “helps to alleviate any fears the kids might have if they come to the hospital.”
Procedures such as cast removal, stitching, general medical exams, and hand-washing are demonstrated by various hospital staff during the Clinic.
TLRMC Director of Staff Development Marla Cantway, RN, who demonstrates stitching, said the best time to educate children about medical procedures is prior to a hospital visit or emergency. During emergencies, children are often too nervous or afraid to respond calmly to medical personnel, Cantway said.
Registered Nurses Beth Johnson and Mindy Renfrow demonstrate the general medical exams to students, which Johnson said includes an ear exam, heartbeat measurement by the Doppler Ultrasound (which allows students to hear their own heartbeats), and lung capacity measurement by stethoscope. Johnson said she also shows students the needle used by medical personnel to insert an intravenous (IV) medication.
Derrick Lasley, RN, of the TLRMC Emergency Department, demonstrates how to remove a cast, which Cantway said is often an upsetting experience for children who have not seen how the cast-removal saw works.
“The cast saw is loud and anxiety-provoking,” Cantway said. “But once [the children] realize it won’t hurt them, [seeing it in action during the Teddy Bear Clinic] excites them.”
During the Clinic, Lasley showed students that the cast removal saw will not cut their skin because, rather than spin at a high velocity to cut the cast, the saw vibrates.