Children's | Community | Featured

Nurses and child life staff from ECU Health went to Pactolus Global School on Tuesday, March 19, to host the Teddy Bear Hospital event as part of Pitt County Health Sciences Academy. This fun, interactive event aims to familiarize elementary-aged children with health care workers in a friendly environment.

Elementary school students donned scrubs and personal protective equipment (PPE) to bring their favorite stuffed animals to the Teddy Bear Hospital. Students assumed the role of parents responsible for the toy’s care, starting with checking their stuffed animal into the waiting room to be triaged. ECU Health nurses then examined the stuffed animals and gave them a diagnosis. Nursing staff provided a treatment plan to help the stuffed animal get better. Through this interactive process, ECU Health nurses and child life team members engaged with the children, fostering valuable interaction and promoting health during workshop sessions.

According to Reed Potts, coordinator of Pitt County Health Sciences Academy, the event serves a number of purposes including to increase the awareness of health care, reduce anxiety around doctor’s visits and introduce students to different health care careers.

A local student with Pactolus Global School works on her stuffed animal during the Teddy Bear Hospital event.

“They’re having an absolute blast,” said Potts. “You never know, we may have a couple of nurses and doctors in here who wind up taking care of us one day.”

Nancy Turner, workforce development consultant, ECU Health, said students have really been engaged with the event and enjoyed the process.

“Students are learning all about health care process as if they are at a doctor’s office or even a hospital,” said Turner. “The students have been great. We’re talking to them after their rotations, and they’re excited to share how our nurses helped their stuffed animals ‘get better’ whether it be with a cast or a band-aid.”

While this may be the first exposure to health care careers for some students, it will not be the last. ECU Health team members, in partnership with Health Sciences Academy, participate in a number of career exploratory events with middle school and high school students including job shadowing, career fairs and “Chat with a Doc.”

“The most important thing is we are able to reach out to students of all ages,” said Turner. “We expose students to health care careers starting in elementary school and continue in middle school and high school letting them know that there a lot of different careers in health care. We’re letting students know there is a health care role for anybody and everybody.”

The Pitt County Health Sciences Academy is a partnership between ECU Health, Pitt County Schools, Pitt Community College, East Carolina University, the Brody School of Medicine, Colleges of Allied Health Sciences, Engineering and Nursing at East Carolina University, School of Dental Medicine at East Carolina University, the Eastern Area Health Education Center and the Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce.