By Casey Hans
At Carpenter Elementary School last month, the annual Teddy Bear Clinic was a learning experience all the way around.
There were no teddy bears to be found, but there was a warm-and-cuddly approach by visiting nursing students from Washtenaw Community College. The nurses gained experience working with youngsters age 5 and 6 while the young students learned about nutrition, vision, their senses, exercise and other health-related issues.
And students learned that every time you see a nurse, it’s not for a shot.
“They always want to know ‘am I getting shots today?’ or whether they’re getting any pokes,” said instructor Carole Baker, who also works in private nursing. “Students (here) get to see nurses as a caregiver and not be afraid.”
The visit is an annual event by the WCC nursing program. Head nursing instructor Sherry MacGregor said the event has been going on at the eastside elementary school for some 14 years and that they also visit other Ann Arbor elementaries during the year.
“Carpenter has always been our school because we’re so close” geographically, she said.
Some 20 nursing students spent four hours at the school event which brought about 200 students through several health stations for hands-on activities. MacGregor said her nursing students often work in area hospitals and the school activity affords them the opportunity to see children in a healthy setting.
“They have to use what we learn about growth and development,” she added. “The other thing my students learn is how to do a health fair.”
Carpenter first-grade teacher Michelle Seals said she looks forward to the program each year. “They’re a wonderful asset,” she said of the WCC nurses. “What a great connection. They need the outreach and we need the outreach.”
Casey Hans edits this e-newsletter for The Ann Arbor Public Schools. Contact her via e-mail or by calling 734-994-2090 ext. 51228.