Clendenin fifth-grader Bella Herrera-Salas already knew she wanted to be a doctor, but Friday’s Teddy Bear Clinic at the Jefferson/Silva gym cemented her decision.
The hands-on event, which drew fifth graders from 17 EPISD elementary schools, gave students a glimpse of careers in dentistry, nursing, pharmacy and medicine by handing them a teddy bear and using it as a patient in different stations led by healthcare professionals.
“I’m excited and happy to learn more,” Herrera-Salas said. “Now I want to be a doctor even more.”
Before treating their stuffed-animal patient, students heard a quick presentation about healthcare careers. Then they moved on to booths that allowed them to experience activities like taking vital signs, measuring blood pressure and taking temperatures. They also learned how to floss and brush their teeth properly and even how to stop a nose bleed.
Silva Health Magnet students worked the booths and guided students from station to station.
“This gives Silva kids an opportunity to showcase what they’ve learned,” said Manuel Castruita, director of Guidance Services. His team was responsible for organizing the event with Silva and Texas Tech.
The students received bags filled with health-related information and goodies including a stethoscope and the official teddy bear used for the mock check ups. Some students hung their stethoscopes around their neck like doctors when they are doing their rounds.
“These students are about to enter middle school,” Castruita said. “When they’re in middle school, they start to explore career options so that when they leave middle school they are ready to pick their endorsement. This at least exposes them to potential opportunities even though healthcare may not be their career choice.”
Silva junior Walter Bolt escorted fifth graders from station to station excited about the chance to interact with the younger students.
“We’re expanding their knowledge of other healthcare occupations,” he said. “We’re encouraging them to do something great and beneficial.”
Joshua Villanueva, a Douglass Elementary fifth grader, enjoyed the field trip to Jefferson/Silva.
“They’ve been showing us what doctors do and how to check patients,” said Villanueva, who despite the visit still wants to be an architect. “It’s been interesting.”
Diana Moreno, a Silva junior, was teaching students about how to take their pulse.
“It’s important to engage the next generation,” she said. “At a young age, they may say they want to be a doctor but they don’t know what a doctor does. Here, they get to meet professors, medical students and nurses to learn more about the careers.”