Adult ICU --> camp nurse?

  1. 0
    I've been an RN for three years, two in adult medical/cardiac ICU. I got my CCRN in adult critical care last fall. I've been accepted to CRNA school (YAY!) and am thinking I'd love to be a camp nurse this summer, as a final staff job and a less stressful job than ICU nursing. I loved camp as a kid and wanted to be a camp nurse since nursing school.

    I'm not, obviously, a peds nurse. I have CPR and PALS, and I'd certainly brush up on the kiddo stuff. I feel confident that I know the big things, just by being a nurse and being interested in all aspects of nursing, but am I overconfident? I feel like if I'm going to be a CRNA I can certainly be a camp nurse, but they are totally different fields. What do the experienced camp nurses think? Does ICU expertise cancel out pediatric inexperience?

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  2. 16 Comments...

  3. 0
    Quote from apaisRN
    I've been an RN for three years, two in adult medical/cardiac ICU. I got my CCRN in adult critical care last fall. I've been accepted to CRNA school (YAY!) and am thinking I'd love to be a camp nurse this summer, as a final staff job and a less stressful job than ICU nursing. I loved camp as a kid and wanted to be a camp nurse since nursing school.

    I'm not, obviously, a peds nurse. I have CPR and PALS, and I'd certainly brush up on the kiddo stuff. I feel confident that I know the big things, just by being a nurse and being interested in all aspects of nursing, but am I overconfident? I feel like if I'm going to be a CRNA I can certainly be a camp nurse, but they are totally different fields. What do the experienced camp nurses think? Does ICU expertise cancel out pediatric inexperience?
    I am a camp nurse and a labor nurse otherwise. You'll be fine with your background. Will you be alone or with other nurses.

    I go every summer for a cojple of weeks. I am MORE tired at camp than I am at my regular job! have a wonderful time. It is so much fun!!
  4. 0
    I haven't found a job yet, but most of the places I'm looking at have more than one nurse.

    I emailed three camps yesterday and they've all written back! Must be a hard job to fill, or maybe I'm just early. Glad you think I'm up to the task.
  5. 0
    Quote from betsrn
    i am more tired at camp than i am at my regular job! have a wonderful time. it is so much fun!!
    :yeahthat: i did camp nursing for a week last year, and was pooped!! but i'm going back! it's really more psychosocial than actual nursing. if you don't have kids (or experience with them), just brush up on your developmental stages, and psychological first aid.

    the two things i found to be different from peds hospital nursing was
    1) the majority of the kids that came in were bs. if someone came in complaining of a headache, it was unlikely to be a bleed (as it very well could be with my post bmt patient with a platelt count of 5,000).
    2) most kids have no ability to make decisions for themselves. example, if you say to the kid "well, i can't do anything for you for xyz complaint. would you like me to call your mother? she may want to take you home, and you'll have to leave camp". i guess i expected more from 'bigger' kids (my daughter is 5, so i don't expect much from her). the kids i deal with in the hospital are constantly surrounded by parents, who decide everything for them.

    a lot of it is 'mommy'ing.
  6. 0
    I like kids, and have three much younger half-siblings. I babysat a lot as a teen, and seems like all my friends are having babies at the moment. Along with the peds rotation in school four years ago, that's my total experience! I was thinking of shadowing a school nurse for a day or two, just to get a feel for it.

    My impression is, as a hospital peds nurse you are 80% nurse and 20% mommy, and for a camp nurse the percentages are reversed.
  7. 0
    I am with the others here...oh brother was I pooped! LOL! But I had a really large ratio of the ol BS complaints simply because I was actually an Outdoor school camp nurse (week course as part of school...so basically school! LOL!). Oh boy I had every complaint under the sun on rain days when the kids didn't want to be outside doing their studies..LOL! It was like "hey lets fake being sick and go to Triage's office...she is better then being out here!"...oh boy!

    But I absolutey loved it once I got use to it..and that did take some time and dedication and LOTS of time managment LOL! I had ranges of patients stemming from nosebleeds (common!), head aches (very common), stomach aches (too too common), to full blown emergencies like asthma attacks (hospitalized almost tubed!), broken bones from falls, febrile seizures r/t infections, and I am the one nurse in my states outdoor school program that actually had a code save! (kitchen worker...so an adult).

    The autonomy can't be beat! I loved it!!!!! I didn't have a DON breathing down my neck, was able to make my own clinical judgment (wow, I have forgotten I actually have that since I have to go by strict protocols at my job now), and people actually respected and told me...TOLD ME...I was valuable! And those hugs at the last day...oh those are the biggest joy and thank you a person can get! Made the stress melt right off my shoulders! .

    Sadly I had to do 5/7 days 3 hours away and my family at home was suffering for it, so I had to quit. I still long for the days...and don't discredit me ever going back one day!

    Okay and what were my skills? Paramedic wanna be turned nurse, 1 year out of school with a 9 month stent in med/surge that went very wrong, ADN, and no real experience with peds! I did great because I was loving it...and learned fast...I really think you will do just peachy once you get use to your day in camp and get your routine down !

    Best experience in nursing I have ever had, so very glad I did it!!!!!!!!
  8. 0
    Quote from apaisrn
    my impression is, as a hospital peds nurse you are 80% nurse and 20% mommy, and for a camp nurse the percentages are reversed.
    good impression. i think you really ave to like kids at camp, more than at work (b/c you double as a mommy at times).

    triage, you've had some interesting experiences!! i had an asthmatic as well (that needed to go to the ed). this being my first year, i felt so stupid at times (didn't know what to do with broken braces, and could not, for the life of me get a counselor's splinter out!!!) so while i was bothering the director for stupid stuff like that (she didn't mind- she was about my age, and a life-long camper), she was so impressed with the way i handled the asthmatic. i told her i was used to real medical problems, so i knew what to do!!
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    Oh man did I have my directors number on speed dial..LOL! Yep, I think it took me about 2 years (I worked 3 months out of the year only) to gain the experience and confidence (confidence was the trickier of the two...and when I look back, I had the knowledge...just lacked the confidence to trust my own clinical judgement) to make a great camp nurse! It is a very unique work enviroment...and I love it...just takes time and really a lot of self confidence and trust in yourself and ablilites!

    Yeah that MI was a real shocker for me! It was kinda funny, I went into a numb clinical mode and all the sudden noticed my patient was not breathing well...so for some reason, which may never be known to me, I had her doing a modified lamaze breathing to keep her concentration on breathing (she was starting to slump and puff). That seemed to really help prolong the majority of the probelm till 9-11 arrived. Me knowing ACLS helped them save her...because once I had to back off the patient and let them in...hello...slump and witnessed asystole! Hello thump!!!!!!! Got her back fast with some meds and that thump!

    The asthma case was far worse. Poor child was in the hospital for 3 months from her last asthma attack before she came to camp...okay maybe not a good choice to go huh? But the parents must have been very ill informed about ashthma and said "the inhalers don't do anything, so we don't buy them any more..it is a MD and pharmacy scam!". Okay.....GREAT!!!!!! Your consperacy theory sent her back to the ED almost tubed, and from what I heard...another 3 months in hospital and rehab. Poor gal..only 14!!!!!!!!!!! I still worry about her, but I tried my darnest to get her school nurse involved, and that school nurse is awesome..I am sure if anything was helped..she certainly did her best!

    Lucky...I didn't get one single anaphalatic reaction at all!!!!!!!! YEAH!!!!!!!!

    One of my highlights was learning so much from my diabetic kids about diabetes. They taught me soooooooo much from a patients point of view that today my diabetic patients say I am the best teacher about diet and controlling their diabetes in a workable way...I always credit the kids for teaching me the low down practical way of dealing with it (btw most went to diabetic camp...so for all you diabetic camp nurses...AWESOME and LOVE YA LOTS! You do a great service!!!!!!! And it does go on to others ).
  10. 0
    I wouldn't know what to do with broken braces either! And I'm no surgeon, I'll give that splinter my best shot but I'm not going to dig around. Asthma I can do, practically all my patients are COPDers. I know it's not the same thing but I'm pretty comfortable with respiratory physiology.

    I don't think I've ever checked a kid's hair for lice - any tips on spotting the little buggers?
  11. 0
    I know this is an older post, but figured this will still be useful...

    Lice are pretty easy to spot once you've seen a case. My best advice is to make sure there's plenty of light, and to concentrate on the hairline. If you see white flakes, try to pull them off the hair. Dandruff comes right off... nits stick hard. Remember that African Americans seldom get lice, but if they have cornrows or dreadlocks, often have flakes.

    I have become a master at splinter-removal, but it took a while. A counselor whose dad is a carpenter taught me some techniques. I used to say "Sorry, I'll cause more damage by trying to dig it out," but now I can get them painlessly with no additional damage. Soaking sometimes works, and I often numb the area with ice and slide it out with a sterile needle. Clean, bandage, keep an eye on it!


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