Teddy Bear Hospital at Apollo Bay Agricultural Show

Teddy Bear Hospital (TBH) is a world-wide initiative which aims to reduce childhood fear of the healthcare system, enhancing the communication skills of health professionals when dealing with children. Here at the University of Melbourne, these events have the largest voluntary engagement participation across the University. The TBH committee, run by the student body and overseen by the Department of Paediatrics, supports numerous community events throughout the year and raises money for The Good Friday Appeal. 

The Department of Paediatrics has taken Teddy Bear Hospital concept and innovatively expanded it into three related but separate spheres which engage and educate students, provide significant outreach opportunities, and connect with the community in creative and relevant ways. These are:

  • Incorporation into the student curricula
  • Major participation in significant community engagement events, including The Good Friday Appeal and the Winter Check Up at Chadstone, the Fashion Capital.
  • Development of small scale community and school based programs.

On Saturday 18 March the Apollo Bay Teddy Bear Hospital, for the fourth time had a stall at the local agricultural show. The TBH doctors had a lot of fun with a lot of kids, adding a unique element to a much-loved local gathering and meeting the goals of the TBH.

The TBH stall included a doctor’s consultation table, CT scanner machine, dentistry chair, surgery department and ambulance service. Around 100 local children, including primary school age or below, came along to get their soft toy or teddy checked out by the friendly team of future health care professionals. The home-made ambulance with flashing lights and blaring sirens worked to ensure that poor, sick teddies got the urgent medical attention they required.

The day started off very busily as children began to gather before set up was even finished. After the initial rush, the TBH doctors were able to catch their breath and continue at a slower pace with the children later to arrive. The student doctors were warmly welcomed and had many parents express their sincere gratitude for the efforts of both the Teddy Bear Hospital and the Royal Children’s Hospital. A local shopkeeper commented that many customers had spoken highly of the TBH stall while at the checkout.

Overall it was a great success and the TBH is looking forward to returning next year!