Teddy Bear Hospital – June and September 2013

Nadia Evans and Claire Powell, PaedSoc Rural Representatives and ARMSoc Community and Wellbeing Director

image - Teddy Bear Hospital – June and September 2013A brilliant author once wrote:

“Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.”

(JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone)

Doctors are scary and bad, right? They cover their faces with masks so that you can’t see them, and trick you into going to ‘sleep’. Worst of all, they seem to like poking you with needles that hurt. Lollipops don’t make up for that pain, no matter what people think.

Children fear health professionals. When the children at Albury and Thurgoona Public Schools were asked whether they thought doctors were good or bad, there was a resounding “BAD!” from about 50% of the students.

Teddy Bear Hospital (TBH) is an initiative brought to the University of New South Wales (UNSW) medical students through the UNSW Paediatrics Society (PaedSoc). It aims to decrease fear of health professionals by familiarising primary school children with common medical equipment and procedures. The interactive nature of TBH allows children to explore these aspects in their own time, with the help of volunteer medical students.

2013 saw the introduction of TBH to the Albury campus.  The students visited two local primary schools, teaching five classes about healthy lifestyle choices and medicine.  The students ran TBH as a series of five stations, including:

  • ‘Healthy eating’
  • ‘Doctor’s bag’
  • ‘Heart and lungs’
  • ‘Surgery’
  • ‘Broken bones’
  • ‘Accidents and the ambulance’

At Thurgoona Public School TBH the children were treated to a special visit from the NSW Ambulance Service, who helped transport Big Teddy to hospital after he experienced some “chest pain”. A very big thank you to paramedics Bernie and Phillip, who attended to Big Ted and demonstrated their role to the children! Luckily, Big Ted made a full and rapid recovery - he was back dancing with the children in no time at all!

Teddy Bear Hospital would not be able to run without the help and support of UNSW PaedSoc, Albury Rural Medical School Society (ARMSoc), the staff at the Albury Wodonga Rural Clinical School and, most importantly, the volunteer medical students. These students take time off from study and class to run TBH. Their enthusiasm, kindness, help and support is integral to keeping TBH running. Without the volunteers, Teddy Bear Hospital would just be two girls, a giant bear, and a handful of children. Their success is evident at the end of every event, when the answer to the question “What did you learn today?” has always been an enthusiastic “Doctors aren’t scary - they are there to help!”


Teddy Bear Hospital in the Media:

News Report: http://au.prime7.yahoo.com/v1/news/a/-/national/17641543/health-lessons-at-teddy-hospital-video/

Newspaper article: http://www.bordermail.com.au/story/1579671/no-bones-about-it-hospitals-good-fun/

ARMSoc facebook album June TBH: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.479697838775968.1073741826.330747330337687&type=1

ARMSoc facebook album September TBH: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.522662511146167.1073741838.330747330337687&type=1