A bear who got a fly stuck in his throat after a walk in the park, a duck who lost his voice and meowed like a cat, a monkey with a strange bump on his nose … these were just a few of the teddy ailments that student doctors from UCD Paediatric Society were faced with at the first Helium Arts Teddy Bear Check Up at LloydsPharmacy.
‘A lovely learning experience for kids’ – Parent, Blackrock
A hundred children and 122 teddies joined us for two days at the end of April in Blackrock Shopping Centre and Omni Park Shopping Centre to have their teddies expertly diagnosed and treated. In the process, the children learned that a trip to the doctor is a little less scary than they thought and absorbed some self-care skills, first-aid, and a better understanding of basic medical procedures they might experience at the GP.
‘Matilda is terrified of doctors, so it’s great to see her interacting with doctors here’ – Parent, Santry
The children were welcomed at the registration station by friendly nurses before being whisked off in the Teddy ambulance to the waiting area where they got to fill out Teddy’s medical record. Teddies were weighed and measured and then examined by the doctor in the clinic room.
‘Funniest scenario was the teddy who got a fly stuck in his throat. We prescribe patting on the bear’s back to get the fly out. Before leaving the room, the little boy has already started doing it. It was so cute.’ – UCD medical student
The student doctors reported a number of meaningful interactions which likely arose from the child’s own experiences such as teddy having a fall or, in the case of one child, declaring that syringes are for ‘painful shots’.
‘The parents were just really grateful for us interacting with their child in this play-pretend scenario and letting them try out some of the medical equipment (we tried to let them hear the thump of the heart from the stethoscope by gently tapping on the diaphragm of the stethoscope. It makes a similar sound.)’ – UCD medical student
The last step on Teddy’s journey was the doctor’s prescription to make Teddy feel better. At the pharmacy desk, each child was greeted by a member of Lloyds staff and given the Teddy ‘First-aid’ goodie bag. Lloyds staff enjoyed how the event allowed them to use their imaginations and remarked on how parents loved the introduction to pharmacy/medicines for children.
‘Really fantastic feel good factor for colleagues’ – LloydsPharmacy staff member
When they arrived home, the children received one final surprise: an email with a Teddy Care Plan so that they could care for their Teddy at home.
‘All the guys are so friendly and caring. Wonderful time. My son loved it.’ – Parent, Santry
For the medical students who took part on the day, it was also a meaningful experience as they came to ‘understand the kids more and their imaginative world’ and ‘to communicate with children of various ages.’
Helium Arts’ Teddy Bear Check Up at LloydsPharmacy is created in partnership with UCD Paediatric Society, inspired by their Teddy Bear Hospitals. We gratefully acknowledge the support of Flying Tiger Copenhagen. The event was photographed and filmed by Paul Gallagher.