Wash your hands after you sneeze and always wear a helmet when you ride a bike.

That’s what first and second graders at St. Mary’s and Frontenac Elementary Schools learned on Wednesday during the Teddy Bear Clinic, hosted by Pittsburg State University nursing students.

The clinic started almost 30 years ago to help bring health and safety education to southeast Kansas elementary schools while giving nursing students an opportunity to work with children in the community. The PSU students do this through the community health nursing class.

“It helps the students engage in community education,” PSU Assistant Professor Kristi Frisbee said.

Nursing student Hannah Jones remembers when she was in elementary school in Girard when the PSU nurses came in for the teddy bear clinic. Instead of a teddy bear, she said she brought in a stuffed ghost which still has bandages on it from the event.

“It’s just really cool, it’s going in a circle,” she said. “It’s so cool I can go back to school and do this while I’m doing what I want to do.”

Jones is set to graduate in May.

Using a special lotion which shows up white under a blacklight, students were able to practice washing hands thoroughly to keep germs at bay.  

The students were quizzed by the nursing students on what to do before riding their bikes — put a helmet on first, of course. The first and second graders were also taught about water and sun safety, and what to do during a fire.

“This is a great opportunity for both the nursing students and elementary students,” St. Mary’s Elementary First Grade Teacher Kristen O’Brien said. “It is a chance to learn about different ways to be safe and healthy.”

— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.