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Duplin Health Science Academy Transforms WALE Media Center Into A Teddy Bear Hospital


Duplin Health Sciences Academy Teddy Bear Hospital Helps Children with Fears of Going to the Hospital and Introduces Them to Careers in Health Care.

Recently, if you were in Wallace Elementary’s media center you would have recognized that it looked more like Vidant Hospital than a library. That’s because on November 16th over 100 kindergarten students were dressed in full medical attire with face masks, gloves, caps, shoe covers, and hospital gowns, as they entered with their beloved stuffed animals in the make-believe hospital set up by the Duplin Health Sciences Academy.  Volunteers from Vidant Duplin Hospital invited students, accompanied by their ailing stuffed animal, to the “set up” hospital in order to be diagnosed and treated. This year nursing students in their senior year at East Carolina University volunteered their time to help out with the event. 

  The students’ brought in animals with an array of problems.  Some had broken limbs from a fall, some needed stuffing and stitches, while many needed immunizations or medicine.  Whatever the need, students enjoyed creating their own scenario.

The makeshift hospital featured various treatment areas such as triage, sutures and bandages, operation, clinic, and recovery------much like you see in a real hospital.  An additional Lab treatment area was added this year, where students could take their stuffed animals to get their blood drawn. From triage, the animals were diagnosed and then sent to another area for treatment.  “There can be a lot of fears that go along with a trip to the doctor or hospital, and one of our goals is to help eliminate some of those fears,” says Debra W. Sholar with Duplin Health Sciences Academy. “We also want to introduce even our youngest students to the opportunities in health care careers,” says Sholar.  

Each child received a disposable stethoscope and had a chance to view and learn about some of the instruments you would see in a hospital/doctor’s office setting.  After recovery, students received a certificate of bravery and had a chance to talk about their experiences. The Health Science Academy Student Ambassadors assisted throughout the day.  Prior to students returning to their classes, the ambassadors presented students with a “doctor hat” and led them in discovery play with toy medical kits.

Tarla Smith, Chief of Staff for Innovation stated, “The Duplin Health Sciences Academy continues to provide amazing opportunities for our students. The recently held Teddy Bear Hospital event provided a chance to collaborate with Vidant Hospital, East Carolina University and community representatives to offer the hands-on, activities-based event for kindergarten students on the campus of Wallace Elementary School.”

Ms. Tarla Smith commented that “The partnership, through this event, showcased integration of STEAMA instruction—blending healthcare with science, technology, and math content providing relevant connections to healthcare and career opportunities for our younger students.”


If you would like to know more about the Duplin Health Sciences Academy or other sponsored programs please call (910) 296-6695.  The Academy is a partnership between Duplin County Schools, Vidant Duplin Hospital, Southeast AHEC, Goshen Medical Center, Duplin Emergency Services, Duplin County Health Services, Duplin County Economic Development Commission, and James Sprunt Community College.


Debra W. Sholar

Duplin County Schools

PO Box 128

Kenansville, NC 28518

(910) 296-6695