Teddy Bear Clinic Helps Pediatric Patients Through Medical Play

For immediate release: May 18, 2015


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The University of Maryland Children’s Hospital recently hosted its 5th Annual Teddy Bear Clinic. The event, hosted by the Child Life Program, has been successful in making in-patient and out-patient children who visit the hospital more comfortable in the medical setting by allowing them to act as doctors to teddy bears.

“Children learn through play. It’s one of the primary ways that they learn, so we find that providing this event gives children hands-on opportunities to use the equipment found in in-patient and out-patient clinics,” says Molly Baron, Child Life Specialist. 

The children walk their teddy bears through stations designed to model a regular visit to the hospital. The children check in their teddy bear and take it to the vitals and scale station. Next, the teddy bear visits the surgery station so that the children learn about surgical procedures. The teddy bear patient also goes through a mock CT scanner to demonstrate how the machine works. There are also stations designed to teach healthy hand washing techniques and oral health.

“We can help clear up any misconceptions children have about the hospital environment and medical staff. By using stuffed animals it gives them a less threatening way to learn about the hospital environment,” says Baron. 

The students from University of Maryland’s School of Pharmacy, School of Nursing and the School of Dentistry raised $900 to purchase 70 hypoallergenic teddy bears for the event. More than 20 volunteers from the different schools ran the booths and stations for the children. 

“This year was the first ever interdisciplinary collaboration for the Teddy Bear Clinic,” says Chelsey Song, Maryland Regional Operations Chair of the American Pharmacist Association Academy of Student Pharmacist. “Traditionally, it has been a pharmacy student-only event with collaborations between the Pediatric Pharmacy Advocacy Group and the American Pharmacist Association Academy of Student Pharmacists, however this year we were extremely fortunate to have both the Nursing School and the Dental School join us as well.” 

Child at teddy bear clinicSmiling child at teddy bear clinic