Positive experience promoted by Notre Dame 'Teddy Bear Doctors'

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Winter 24-8-2011

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Fremantle Campus

Publication Place



Much-loved teddy bears are helping Notre Dame Medicine students reduce the fear and anxiety often associated with a visit to the doctor for primary school children.

The Teddy Bear Hospital (TBH) program is an initiative of the Medical Students’ Association of Notre Dame (MSAND) and gives first and second year medical students valuable paediatric training while assisting children in becoming more comfortable with a visit to the doctor.

Second year Medicine students Jennifer Melvin, Rikki Warren and Kimberley McDonough, created TBH as part of their preclinical social justice assignment.

The program is run primarily in pre-primary classrooms with students, who play the role of a worried parent, bringing their “sick” teddy bears to a simulated hospital for treatment by one of 65 trained “Teddy Bear Doctors” from Notre Dame.

Children move through four stations including a waiting room; a doctor’s consultation room; a treatment room and an activities table. The stations allow children to interact with safe medical equipment in a non-threatening environment.

At the end of the visit, each child and their “healed” teddy bear leave the TBH with a pawscription of fruit, a greater knowledge of healthy eating habits, the importance of outdoor activities and a big smile.

“The students always leave with a smile on their face and it’s good to know that Notre Dame students have been accepted by their class,” Miss Melvin said.

“Obviously, in the early years of a child’s life, they can be presented with a negative impression of the doctor’s surgery, often associating it with pain and discomfort.

“This program can hopefully make children understand that doctors are there to help them get better.”

For more information about the Teddy Bear Hospital, email tbh@msand.org.au.

MEDIA CONTACT: Leigh Dawson, Tel (08) 9433 0569, Mob 0405 441 093