Doctor Bear – The Netherlands (IFMSA NL)

Name of the activity: Doctor Bear

Country/NMO: The Netherlands (IFMSA NL)

Program: Children Health & Rights


Contact information: [email protected]

Type of the activity: Education


General description:

The Doctor Bear project aims to decrease the fear some children experience while being in the hospital. We play a little game with them. They ‘cure’ their own teddy bear in the role of a doctor. At the end the children will receive a certificate.

Focus area:

Children’s mental health

Problem statement:

Mostly, children who visit the hospital are scared for everybody working in the hospital. They create negative associations with being hospitalized. Each year approximately 9.26% of children between 1 and 20 years old are being hospitalized for one or more days (source: CBS Ziekenhuisopnamen; kerncijfers; geslacht, leeftijd en regio). This could lead to avoidance of hospital care in a later phase of life.

Target groups and beneficiaries:

We will directly interact with children who are hospitalized on the paediatric ward. The children can be aged between 12 months and 16 years. The children will benefit from our activity because they will experience that there’s not only negative experiences in the hospital during hospitalization. A second target group is the medical students who interact with the children.

Objectives and indicators of success:

– Brand awareness among medical students, doctors, nurses, parents and children.
– Increased numbers of (medical) students registered as a Doctor Bear. Holding track of the numbers per year.
– Increased numbers of hospitals participating in the Doctor Bear project. We want to expand the project to non-academic hospitals. Holding track of the hospitals per year.
– As a result of the objectives stated above we want to reach more children across the Netherlands. Holding track of the numbers of all the children reached (anonymously) per year.


This project is done by eight committees. They all have their own input, pros and cons. Since the election of the project coordinator, the project coordinator is going to assemble a list of ideas, pros and cons. When that is done, we are going to promote the project. This can be done by visiting hospitals, creating facebook posts, participating on patient organization events. Also we will promote the project in the eight medical faculties to recruit new Doctor Bears. This will result in accomplishing the objectives stated above.

Plans for evaluation:

The project is evaluated locally within the committee and will be evaluated more detailed since the election of the project coordinator together with the chairmen of the local committee. We will keep track of all numbers such as children, hospitals and Doctor Bears. Also, we gather the negative and positive feedback and evaluate if we can change something. On national meetings, the project will be evaluated slightly less detailed.
We do impact measurements after every child we see. Impact measurements are available for students as well.

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