Teddy Bear Hospital treats sick teddies for Good Friday Appeal

More than 1200 medicine, nursing, dentistry, physiotherapy, audiology, optometry, biomedical, science, speech pathology and social work students raised $26,429 by running a Teddy Bear Hospital for the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) Good Friday Appeal.

Teddy Bear Hospital

The popular event saw more than 3400 Victorian children and their families in attendance, accompanied by teddy bears and other soft toys in need of medical consultations with the students. The event aims to familiarise children with healthcare settings in a fun, relaxed and interactive manner. For students, it assists them with further developing the specific communication and engagement skills required to successfully interact with children needing treatment.

While the equipment, including teddy CT scanners, hydrotherapy pools, dental chairs and teddy ambulances were all hand made by students, this year’s event was much more colourful thanks to the wonderful support by VISY who provided teddy-themed backdrops, furniture and signage that delighted the children.

Professor Paul Monagle, Department of Paediatrics, said: “To see the look of joy on so many children’s faces was priceless, but from my perspective to see so many students gain confidence and capacity in the way they interact with children was amazing. For health care students to be part of such a wonderful community-based activity that supports the RCH, an entity that really does belong to the people of Victoria, inspires many of them to start considering what their potential careers mean in that broader context.”

Established by students six years ago, the Teddy Bear Hospital has raised a total of $125,000 for the Good Friday Appeal, which goes towards equipment, research and education to support the work of the RCH.

Professor Shitij Kapur – Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences – attended the Teddy Bear Hospital with his wife Sharmistha. Professor Kapur said: “It was so uplifting to see students from across the Faculty involved in an event that has both academic and social rewards for them. It nurtures their leadership and engages the community in such a meaningful way.”

The Teddy Bear Hospital is the largest student engagement event run by the University and is widely considered an exemplar of community engagement throughout the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences.