El Paso fifth graders got a glimpse of what it’s like to be a health care provider — by taking care of teddy bears.
More than 1,000 elementary school students will treat teddy bears as pretend patients at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) Teddy Bear Clinic. The event is designed to spark student interest in a health care career.
“We try to plant a seed in these students at an early age so that they can eventually enter the health care field,” says Daniel Camacho, who helped organize the event and is director of the TTUHSC El Paso Area Health Education Center (AHEC). “There is a real health care provider shortage in El Paso and the surrounding region, and with this event, we hope to interest more of our talented youth in choosing a health career.”
Seventeen elementary schools from the El Paso Independent School District (EPISD) will participate in the Teddy Bear Clinic at Silva Magnet High School.
Once at the high school, students will hear a short talk from a TTUHSC El Paso physiologist before taking their teddy bears through a variety of health-related stations, including a doctor’s, nursing, vital signs, dental and pharmacy station.
TTUHSC El Paso medical and nursing students will help run the stations to teach the children about the various injuries or illnesses their bears may have. The TTUHSC El Paso students will use real medical equipment to demonstrate how a doctor or nurse would handle the case in real life.
“Children typically have anxiety about going to see a doctor, but this teddy bear approach will hopefully help make them more comfortable with the thought of going,” Camacho adds.
AHEC works with kindergarten through college-age students throughout the year to address the future of health care in West Texas through education and development services.
The 2016 Teddy Bear Clinic is sponsored by TTUHSC El Paso, AHEC and the Guidance and Counseling Services at EPISD.