Emu Park Lions Club donates second silicone puppet to Pup-Ed program

Published:12 November 2018

CQUniversity Professor Kerry Reid-Searl (left) pictured with Emu Park Lions Club members (front row) Bev Gully, Denis Ratcliffe, (back row) Dennis Wex and Frank Holman at a morning tea event held in recognition of the club's generosity.

CQUniversity has welcomed a second silicone puppet to its Pup-Ed (KRS Simulation) program, thanks again to the generosity of Emu Park Lions Club.

Leo the silicone puppet will be used by Nursing students and health service organisations based in the Rockhampton region.

This is the second silicone puppet donated by the club, after it provided the University with two $6000 donations in the 2015/16 financial year.

Emu Park Lions Club President Val Wex congratulated the University for showing great initiative and using its expertise to bring a program like this to fruition.

“It’s extremely special that our club is able to contribute to the education of tomorrow’s nurses, and the comfort of sick children during their most vulnerable moments,” Mrs Wex said.

“This is all thanks to Professor Kerry Reid-Searl, who three years ago provided club members with a first-hand experience of the program benefits.

“It was apparent that we all wanted to be part of the heart-warming program so we donated $12,000, all of which was raised at several local club events.

“Since then, the University has purchased two silicone puppets. Lionel is used by Nursing staff at the Rockhampton Base Hospital, and Leo will be used to educate both Bachelor of Nursing and Bachelor of Education (Primary) students.

Mrs Wex said the name ‘Leo’ played an important significance to the club, and would act as a perfect reminder of his origin.

“Leo clubs are a sponsored affiliation of Lions Clubs International that encourage young men and women to serve others in their community and around the world,” Mrs Wex said.

“It made sense that both puppets were named after the club in some way – now all we need to do is make them official club shirts!”

Professor Kerry Reid-Searl said the University was extremely grateful for the club’s continued generosity.

“The club’s donation was given from the heart – community money raised at club events. Now the University can use Leo to give back to locals,” Professor Reid-Searl said.

“What’s ever better is that since the club’s decision to donate, other Australian service club providers have decided to follow suit.

“As a result, the University now has 20 silicone puppets making their way into health care and university settings across Australia.

The puppets came about as an extension of Professor Reid-Searl’s MASK-Ed (KRS Simulation) technique, developed at CQUniversity.

MASK-ED involves educators using silicone masks and body parts to take on the persona of a patient, whereas PUP-ED is focused on paediatric care.

Professor Reid-Searl said Nurses could get the puppet to ‘talk’ through procedures, to help comfort sick children.

“We ensure that the puppet ‘whispers’ rather than speaks so different people can engage with the child without having to worry about a constant voice type,” Professor Reid-Searl said.

“The puppet has realistic body parts but his face is different to depict a character. We wanted him as a friendly looking caricature … not too lifelike so that children would engage with a toy like boy.

“Each puppet can have a naso-gastric tube in his nose, a cannula in his arm, a catheter in his urethra, a portacath in his chest, and injections into his abdomen.”

If you're interested in partnering with CQUniversity to create additional opportunities for our students and communities, please contact the Development Team on 07 4923 2875 or via