Area Students Learn About “Medical Clowning”

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The clowns are being sent to the classroom.

On Saturday and Sunday, February 22nd and 23rd, 2014, Saint Ambrose University in Davenport is holding a class about "Medical Clowning."

"Medical Clowning" is a clown that visits hospital patients.

"When individuals are hospitalized, many times they're in a position where they're in pain or they may not be in control of what's going on in their environment," says Christine Urish, Professor of Occupational Therapy at Saint Ambrose University. "The clown offers them an opportunity to engage in a positive way, in a way that gives them a sense of freedom from the pain they're feeling or the stress they're experiencing."

"The Medical Clown is very respectful in going in and just interacting with them, offering them some fun enjoyment and a break from the medical environment which can be very stressful."

The class includes 18 Occupational Therapy and Psychology Students as well as 10 Characters from the Quad City Clown Troupe.

Two Medical Clowns from "Hearts and Noses" in Boston, Massachusetts were brought in with a grant to teach the course, which is helping the students figure out ways to form a positive and helpful relationship with their future patients.

"We are introducing them to empowerment skills, improvisation, and clown character," says Joyce "Frizzle" Friedman. "You can use these skills in any kind of environment. When you empower a child, they remember who they were before they were sick and that's the greatest gift."

"First and foremost, it's about the relationship with the patients that they're going to be working with, so this is offering them an opportunity to interact and engage with their patients in a different way," says Urish.