Being the only camp nurse

  1. 0 Hey everyone!

    I've applied to a camp nursing position this summer, something I've never done before. It's at a Girl Scout camp, which rocks since I was a Girl Scout myself! The pay and location are both great. My only concern is that I would be the only nurse. There are between 30-120 campers depending on the session, and I was told that the counselors take care of minor first aid themselves.

    My only concern is, if I'm the only nurse there, do I have to sit in the infirmary all day long every day? I will have time off between sessions, but I'm unsure of whether I get any time off during the sessions (I'm thinking not). Also, do nurses ever get to be involved in any of the activities, aka bonfires and things like that? Thanks!!!!!
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  3. Visit  LittleWing21} profile page

    About LittleWing21

    LittleWing21 has '2' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Camp Nursing, Outpatient Pediatrics'. From 'Cape Cod, MA'; Joined Jul '05; Posts: 171; Likes: 90.

    20 Comments so far...

  4. Visit  Neveranurseagain} profile page
    1
    You probably won't get any time off during that session. One problem with being the only nurse is that if a child is vomiting all night or up with a fever, you still have to work the next day. I would take a walk everyday to get out of the infirmary but carried a radio with me (cells phones may not work at the camp) and someone would pick me up in a Gator/Golfcart if there was a problem Sometimes I'd go to the bonfire and participate in camp activities but when I showed up kids would "remember" they were sick or needed a bandaid and I'd end up walking back to the infirmary with them.
    Take some books, and hope they have internet access. You might be able to take an online class while you are there.
    LittleWing21 likes this.
  5. Visit  muffin7} profile page
    0
    I applied to a camp (1st time) in No CA and am waiting for a final phone interview this coming week.
    I would work in exchange for my two children to be able to attend for the two weeks with me.
    I would also be the only RN along with 2 EMT's. I'm a little nervous but excited at the same time.
    The Director told me that I would get some time off (have to ask exactly how much) and I would also be able to have a walkie talkie.
    This camp is really awesome.
  6. Visit  LittleWing21} profile page
    1
    I got the job!!!!!!!!!!!!! The interview went great and they offered me the job at the end of it! So excited. They said I'll have 2 hrs off per day and then 24hrs off each wk. sounds good to me!

    I've got a random question: What do you wear as a camp nurse? Any tips would be great too!

    PS. Good luck muffin!
    muffin7 likes this.
  7. Visit  muffin7} profile page
    0
    CONGRATS LITTLEWING!!!!! Where is your camp?

    I did get an email from the director of the camp today saying "we are a go." When I talked to her last week she was going to check my references and let me know today. I am so excited. She also said that she would call me tonight.

    I am waiting to tell my children atleast until I talk to her. They will be so excited. I figure since the job market is so bad, I might as well do Home Health and go to camp with my kids. This camp sounds amazing.
  8. Visit  muffin7} profile page
    0
    I was so excited that I forgot to answer your question.

    I don't know what we should wear. I would guess anything comfortable, but I'm not sure. I guess you should ask the camp director.
  9. Visit  Neveranurseagain} profile page
    2
    At the camps I work at we wear anything that is comfortable. At some camps, people have "camp names". I have been Nurse Ratchet for years. The kids don't know the reason behind my name, but the parents get a good chuckle from it!
    DizzyLizzyNurse and LittleWing21 like this.
  10. Visit  muffin7} profile page
    0
    awsmom8, Can you give any other insight into camp nursing that we could use. I am sooooo excited, but at the same time it is a huge responsibility. I am assuming that at my camp the kids are pretty healthy, but you never know.
  11. Visit  LittleWing21} profile page
    0
    I've been trying to think of a good name! If I can't think of anything then its gonna be littlewing! haha Thanks for answering my clothes question...that's very good because I have a lot of comfy camping clothes!!!

    The directors at the camp are all in their 20's (as am I) and seem super nice!! I think it's going to be a blast! The camp is on Cape Cod in Mass. It's pretty perfect- I lived there for a couple of yrs and my fiance grew up there. I need a temp job until we're sure of where we will live.

    The directors also told me something comforting: they have alot of support from a local clinic. So I'm not totally stuck with the decision of hospital or treat at camp. Oh, and an experienced camp nurse will come the week before camp starts to help me organize. I'm sooo excited!


    PS. Any advice on a non-hospital job for after? I'd love to do school nursing, but I think you need a BSN in Mass (I have a BS &ADN) I'm thinking maybe try a peds office?
  12. Visit  muffin7} profile page
    0
    LittleWing,

    How awesome to be in Cape Cod, congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!! Do you know if they are looking for RNs at any other times during the summer. I am already booked for July 26-August 8th.

    Let me know, or if you have their address I can email them myself.
  13. Visit  Neveranurseagain} profile page
    2
    Be sure and eyeball the next week camper health forms ahead of time so you know who is coming that is DM, etc. Get a list of campers and be sure you have a health form on every child. Ask if the infirmary has internet access so you can look up kids medical conditions and meds. If not bring a med book. Take several books for down time, laptap so you can watch movies. Take old National Geograhic to read then have sick kids make collages--bring a glue stick. During staff orientation, inform staff about HIPPA.Take that time to educate the staff on myths of bedwetting and how DDAVP works and that there are large pullups for campers (be sure the infirmary has some--I've had parents not know about them or that there are meds available!!!) If staff takes kid to ER, remind them their job is the driver and any medical questions/problems the ER needs to call YOU and any treatment at ER is confidential and not to be discussed with campers/staff. Stop by the ER and introduce yourself and don't forget the cookies. Assemble pt ed handouts on bee stings and DM to hand out to counselors that will have kids with these conditions. If camper leaves to go on hike/canoeing be sure epipen goes with them. Take a couple epipen trainers (look on ebay) to do some training.

    Things I take to camp that most camps don't have:
    eyeglass repair kit, sewing kit, poligrip dental adhesive (temp glue for caps/crowns that fall off), reading glasses (they make great magnifiers for removing spinters and leaves your hands free. Take some crystal lite drink packets for H2O bottles (for you!), my own large insulated mug/cup. Most of this stuff you can get at the dollar store--except for bring a decent pair of splinter forceps. While at the dollar store get a few crazy hats, wigs, hula skirts, eye glasses with the big nose etc to you to wear. Also get several small stuffed animals for boys/girls that may lose a tooth at camp, spend the night in the infirmary or are homesick. Your employer should reimburse you for some of these things. I get a bottle of Benadryl at the dollar store too because sometimes the camps are out and I want one in my hand when I get there.

    Review your psych meds and ADHD meds--kids come to camp on an amazing array of psychotropic meds.

    Google and find out what state/county regulations appply to camps so you know you are in compliance.

    If you bring your kids, get them a few small stuffed animals and I miss you cards. Have family send cards too. My kids were sometimes sad at mail time because they NEVER got cards or things from home so every few weeks I would mail them (yah! from camp to camp!) to brighten their day. Don't show any affection for your children in dining hall or in front of other kids or you will have an outbreak of homesickness. Don't go into their cabin, esp at night or it will be tears all around...they can sneak to the infirmary for hugs prn.
    Last edit by Neveranurseagain on Apr 21, '09
    muffin7 and LittleWing21 like this.
  14. Visit  SchoolNurseBSN} profile page
    0
    Quote from LittleWing21
    Hey everyone!

    I've applied to a camp nursing position this summer, something I've never done before. It's at a Girl Scout camp, which rocks since I was a Girl Scout myself! The pay and location are both great. My only concern is that I would be the only nurse. There are between 30-120 campers depending on the session, and I was told that the counselors take care of minor first aid themselves.

    My only concern is, if I'm the only nurse there, do I have to sit in the infirmary all day long every day? I will have time off between sessions, but I'm unsure of whether I get any time off during the sessions (I'm thinking not). Also, do nurses ever get to be involved in any of the activities, aka bonfires and things like that? Thanks!!!!!
    Last summer was my 1st experience as a camp nurse - a very last minute decision! I enjoyed it - but, I was the only nurse 24/7 for 3 weeks with not one day off. Personally, I would not do that again. I live in Texas and worked in upstate New York (never made into NYC which is kind of why I went). Like someone else stated - when I would try to participate in activities - I would always end up back in the infirmiry!

    I am just going to relax this summer. If I ever do summer camp again - I do not want to be the only nurse (I get that as a school nurse enough already). Even the teenage counselors got 1.5 days off every session!

    Honestly, my daughter being a camper for free was really made it worth while. The money was peanuts if you broke it down hourly!

    However - to answer someone else's question......It was nice to wear shorts and flip-flops to work everyday!
  15. Visit  androrn} profile page
    1
    Enjoy spending time with the kids at the camp activities when you can. Whenever I go to an activity that involves all or most of the camp, I take my "go bag" with me. I keep alot of things I might need so that I don't have to walk back to the infirmary. Things such as bandaids, epipen, tylenol, tums, benadryl, throat lozenges, gauze, cold pack, stethoscope, etc and a little notebook to write down anything I might do. Seems like I dip into this bag almost every time I go along with the camp. Makes things much easier. This is also the bag I grab when called to the field to see a camper so I don't have to think what to grab on the way.

    Love being a camp nurse, can't wait for summer to start.

    Happy camping!!
    LittleWing21 likes this.


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