Camp nurses, help me out!

  1. Hi everyone, I'm Amberdawn, and I am new to allnurses.com~

    I am graduating in May 08 with my BSN and I want to begin my journey with camp nursing!!

    How soon should I apply? Where should I apply??

    ANY SUGGESTIONS WOULD HELP!
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   BonnieSc
    They will be happy to have you. Camps are starting to post jobs for nurses now; camps like to do the bulk of their hiring ~February but many are hiring up through the beginning of June.

    A couple of considerations:
    -you'll want to take the NCLEX first, right? Make sure you make your appointment ASAP.
    -you have to be licensed in the state where you'd be practicing as a camp nurse. Ordinarily this is not such a big deal, but as a new grad, it seems likely that you'll want to look for a job in the state where you'll be licensed. If that state is Pennsylvania or Maine or North Carolina, you'll have more job prospects than you can count... if it's Nevada, you won't have quite as many

    Think about what kind of camp you want to work at. There's one basic distinction, and many smaller ones. Do you want a camp where the kids stay all summer (6-8 weeks), or one where kids come for a week or two at a time and you keep getting new crops? The first type are all (as far as I've ever heard) camps for wealthy families, usually with great facilities and often with more than one nurse. (This is the "Parent Trap" kind of camp.) The second type has more variables--kids usually come from a variety of backgrounds, facilities range from fancy to rustic, and there may be one nurse or multiple nurses.

    Other things to consider: do you want an outdoorsy camp or not? Single-sex or co-ed? Run by an organization like Girl Scouts, YMCA, 4-H, or private? Music camps, drama camps... there are many choices out there.

    I wouldn't necessarily look specifically at job postings--just search for camps in the area where you'd like to work, and when you find a camp that looks like fun, email them to see if they're looking for a nurse. Be sure to find out about the working conditions, whether there are other nurses, the living situation, etc.

    Good luck! Let us know how it goes!
  4. by   ProfRN4
    As Wendy mentioned, one of the things you definitely want to know is the ratios: number of nurses. I work one week in the summer at a camp where I am the only nurse. While the kids that attend the camp are not 'sick kids' all decisions fall on me. We do have a doc in town that I can call and send the kid to be assessed, but the director does not look too kindly at deferring all the decisions to her (she is not employed by the camp, but there in case a kid really does get sick).

    Also, you want to know if there are 'sick kids' at the camp you work at, is it a camp for kids with cancer or other illnesses, or are you just there in cae something should happen? Either way you will be giving out meds, educating, and acting as a 'mommy'; dealing with tummy aches, periods, homesickness, etc.

    Definitely start inquiring now. When I first started I went to a website (after doing a search) where I posted my basic info. I can't tell you how many calls and e-mails I received. The one I ended up going with was a Girl Scout camp, 2 hours away, all girls (obviously) ages 6-18. My daughter is 7 and has been coming with me every year (since she was 4). We only go for a week, because it was all I could take (with bad food and the primitve life style). Also, they don't pay that great, but if you have kids, it is worth it for them to go for free.
  5. by   Alex'sDad
    I would strongly suggest you do some time in medical surgical nursing or pediatric nursing before venturing into camp nursing. If you really are interested in camp nursing and the camp will hire a new grad, make sure a more experienced RN is there with you to "show you the ropes." At many camps, like the two I have been working for the past 8 years, the RN is the sole medical provider (depending on the type of camp...I don't do "sick kid" camps--I get enough of that at work full time). All the decisions fall on you.

    Review some basic first aid and take a first aid manual with you. If you're not doing a cancer camp or the like, you'll be doing technical things like removing splinters, treating upset tummies and constipation (often one and the same) and maybe doing a few nebulizer treatments for mildly asthmatic kids.

    That's not too bad, but two years ago we had Noravirus running through the camp. My director was concerned the kids wouldn't "have fun or learn anything" and kept trying to thwart any attempt I made at trying to keep the sick kids and adults separated from one another.

    This is where experience comes in. You have to be able to fall back on skills and experience to say, "Tough noogies. I'm the only medical person here. The red cabin is in quarantine for 24 hours." No one gets sent home from this camp unless we simply can't take care of a problem.

    You may also be making decisions like, "It's too chilly today to allow the kids in the pool" or "Susie can't eat that ice cream as her mother states she's lactose intolerant" or "Moving everyone from the individual cabins into another larger cabin during a tornado warning makes no sense since we have no basement type shelter," etc.

    On a better note, camp nursing is the greatest. If I could find a year round camp job that pays as well as my case management job, you'd find me outdoors with kids "roughing it" all the time. Give me a hike or a kayaking trip with a skinned knee and a bug bite any day over the 9-5 and the politics of nursing!
  6. by   nurseinct1000
    There are openings for new nurses in CT. I work at one that is looking. PM me for details.

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