Camp Nurses - Please Introduce Yourself Here. - page 2

by nightingale | 16,440 Views | 48 Comments

At someones suggestion, to introduce herself, this thread was started. I will start: I was a Camp Nurse in 2000 at a private camp in upstate New York in the Birkshire Mountains. I was there for a month and had a so so time but... Read More


  1. 0
    Quote from kenni
    I'm not really a camp nurse, but I just finished a school elective for nursing children with pku. I don't think I'll ever participate in camp nursing again.
    Did you have a bad experience, and that is why you will never participate again? Also, what is PKU?
  2. 0
    The camps that have the sick children can be a challenge. I know some of the nurses that volunteer at these camps come home emotionally weary, but with many good memories. But for some of these camps, the nurses that volunteer are the only way that they can have medical help available, and use the financial resources to run the camp. For some of these children, these camps are highly anticipated year round. You can use the volunteer time on a resume, if applying for a management or specialist job in nursing. The camp nursing experience is definitely an 'icebreaker' when this is mentioned in job interviews. I would suggest trying a family camp with just activities, not with a specialized 'chronic condition'. It may give you a different perspective on camp nursing. Good luck.:wink2:
  3. 0
    I just today got back from my week at camp.

    I have volunteered at my kids' church camp to work in the Clinic for 4 yrs now. The last two, I've been the 'head nurse'.

    350 kids, 70 adults counselors. And, that's just 'our' week. The camp runs all summer w/ 10 sessions. I just go to one.

    But, over the course of the summer, 3500 kids, 700 adults: I'm going to convince them to get an AED before next year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I'm amazed at how different each session is. 4 yrs ago: menstrual cramp city. 3 yrs ago: tummy aches. Last year: sore throats including 4 cases of actual strep. This year: ortho city. Ankle and knee pains galore, including the need to f/u with an MRI on a camper. Yuck.

    But, I seem to fall into a habit of stocking up and preparing for last year's 'streaks', only to be caught be a new 'streak' every yr. And, even though I KNOW THIS NOW, I will STILL buy loads of ankle/knee wraps and ace bandages for next year.

    One change I DID make as the 'head' nurse was to create and institute an 'MAR'. You can't tell which kids are weaseling out of their ADD meds if you only record those that voluntarily come in. You have to be able to look down the MARs and see the 'blanks'.

    And, if you haven't done camp nursing before, you MUST get the book, 'the basics of camp nursing'. It was my primer on what was right about the way things 'are done', and what needed to be changed.

    I also recommend going to ACA's (Amer Camping Assoc) website and purchasing tx books - it's so difficult to find 'bound numbered logs' and the ACA's book is perfect in that it is actually designed for camp: neat and concise.

    I love the experience but hate the work. I normally work 14-16 hr days without break for a week. IF they had to pay me, they wouldn't be able to afford me! But then, if they had to pay me, about half those kids wouldn't be able to afford to be there. . .

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    Last edit by ZASHAGALKA on Jul 29, '06
  4. 0
    I can't imagine not having a MAR. I just don't know what you'd do. Even the kids who don't mind taking meds forget a lot while they're at camp, due to the different schedule.

    I agree, I recommend the Basics of Camp Nursing book to EVERYONE... I got so many good ideas there.
  5. 1
    Just got back from my first week of nursing at a girls camp in North Carolina. I LOVED it ! It was scary (a near anaphylactic reaction the first day), fun (got to watch the girls do all the activities), quiet (spent a lot of time rocking on the front porch during our down time); busy (passing meds in the dining hall and not knowing the different groups) and hard.

    I wish I would have been more prepared for how hard it would be on my daughter (just turned 7 and probably too young) to see me every day and yet not be *with* me. She had a rough time and we will probably wait a few years before we go back.

    I wish I would have been prepared for how much I would fall in love with those sweet little girls. They are precious and amazing and I think we did a great job "Momming" the girls.

    I wish I would have known if the chemical in glo-lite bracelets was caustic to the eye ? (Had to make a late night ER run for that one).

    I'm glad I didn't take the advice in "basics of camp nursing" and put up "office hours" outside of the infirmary. Kids don't get stung during office hours. I think that is outrageous. They need to get their owies fixed and be sent on their way so they can enjoy camp more.

    I hope everyone had a great time at their camp !
    sgrn07 likes this.
  6. 1
    The 'office hours' issue is not to discourage 'emergency' treatment, but to set boundaries on 'routine' tx.

    For example, before I set 'office hours' my 3rd year in, I was getting kids coming in at midnight for their BID meds. Not cool. I still get that, but now I can say, "Tomorrow, come back during OFFICE HOURS".

    And, 'office hours' give you a rationale for putting some limits on 'infirmary-itis'.

    It's all how you control it. Rules are easier laxed then lack of rules can be enforced.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    sgrn07 likes this.
  7. 0
    On a whim, I bought a few of the spray, 'sour' candies (you 'spray' the candy into your mouth) and used them for some of the smaller kids for my '2nd treatment' after I was done w/ the 'booboos'.

    Do you know how many kiddos came in for their '2nd treatment'? I had to set the ground rules: 2nd treatments are for only when I'm not busy w/ FIRST treatments.

    But, it was so cute to have these kiddos clamoring for their '2nd treatment'.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
  8. 0
    Quote from ZASHAGALKA
    The 'office hours' issue is not to discourage 'emergency' treatment, but to set boundaries on 'routine' tx.

    For example, before I set 'office hours' my 3rd year in, I was getting kids coming in at midnight for their BID meds. Not cool. I still get that, but now I can say, "Tomorrow, come back during OFFICE HOURS".

    And, 'office hours' give you a rationale for putting some limits on 'infirmary-itis'.

    It's all how you control it. Rules are easier laxed then lack of rules can be enforced.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    We took meds to the dining hall to distribute to campers. We had them meet us outside before every meal if they took meds. It worked out great and we didn't have to wait for them at the infirmary.

    We were told by some camp staff that nurses in an earlier session had set out a rope across the porch of the infirmary and declared office hours (and they used the same med dispensing system as us).
  9. 0
    I am back from Texas where I was a camp nurse at a Christian Camp with an average of 400 campers and 100 staff members. This was my first year as a camp nurse.If your hoping to be a camp nurse next summer, here are some things to consider. You ARE it, in the event of EVERY emergency. You will be expected to be On-Call 24/7, even if you want to sleep,eat or shower, or in the event that you are sick, you are still on-call, the kids have to come first. Make sure you have another nurse available if you don't want this to fall all on you. If you work in a Christian Camp, be aware that you Will be expected to on top of all that you do as a camp nurse, to participate in any and all religious ceremony/observations that are practiced at your camp, even if you do not share that faith. Even if those religious services cut into your time off. Be aware that ACA regulations are just suggestions and that the Camps will interpret them as the director wants to. Example, I was forced to pass meds by going to each meal walking around finding campers by calling out their name(the camp director felt that asking the counselor to bring the kids to me was too much to ask from the counselor even thought this practice violates HIPPA law). Be aware that on top of camp nursing duties, you will be asked to clean up a designated area weekly (outside of the camp clinic)after each camp session, and that not one camp staff will be allowed off the camp grounds on your day off until the entire camp is clean, by order of the director. I guess my camp director is not aware of the nursing shortage that exists. The reason I did not leave before camp was over was because my son was having such a good time. Will I be a camp nurse again, yes I will. But I will do more research before I commit my summer to a lunatic. Also I will make sure I am not 1100 miles away from home before I accept another camp nurse assignment. This letter is in hopes to help you avoid some of the pitfalls that I encountered. Except for all this, Camp was fun.
  10. 0
    Quote from Avelinne
    I am back from Texas where I was a camp nurse at a Christian Camp with an average of 400 campers and 100 staff members. This was my first year as a camp nurse.If your hoping to be a camp nurse next summer, here are some things to consider. You ARE it, in the event of EVERY emergency. You will be expected to be On-Call 24/7, even if you want to sleep,eat or shower, or in the event that you are sick, you are still on-call, the kids have to come first. Make sure you have another nurse available if you don't want this to fall all on you. If you work in a Christian Camp, be aware that you Will be expected to on top of all that you do as a camp nurse, to participate in any and all religious ceremony/observations that are practiced at your camp, even if you do not share that faith. Even if those religious services cut into your time off. Be aware that ACA regulations are just suggestions and that the Camps will interpret them as the director wants to. Example, I was forced to pass meds by going to each meal walking around finding campers by calling out their name(the camp director felt that asking the counselor to bring the kids to me was too much to ask from the counselor even thought this practice violates HIPPA law). Be aware that on top of camp nursing duties, you will be asked to clean up a designated area weekly (outside of the camp clinic)after each camp session, and that not one camp staff will be allowed off the camp grounds on your day off until the entire camp is clean, by order of the director. I guess my camp director is not aware of the nursing shortage that exists. The reason I did not leave before camp was over was because my son was having such a good time. Will I be a camp nurse again, yes I will. But I will do more research before I commit my summer to a lunatic. Also I will make sure I am not 1100 miles away from home before I accept another camp nurse assignment. This letter is in hopes to help you avoid some of the pitfalls that I encountered. Except for all this, Camp was fun.
    As you suggest, not all camp experiences are the same. I work in a Christian camp in Texas w/ a similar ratio of campers/staff. I knew going in it was a 24 hr job. My campers come to ME and the clinic for meds. I only have to track down the stray camper that 'forgets' to take their meds - and w/ a few reminders, by the 2nd or 3rd day, they realize I can be as consistent as mom/dad and they give up trying to 'forget'.

    (a small percentage of add/adhd kids use camp to try to avoid taking their meds. Parents aren't normally too keen on having to spend weeks re-adjusting those meds to re-attain therapeutic dosing.)

    All of my official dutes were nurse related. This is not true for other staff but an exception is made for nursing BECAUSE we are a 24 hr job.

    The religious activities ARE part of the job, but, the rules are such that you have to be a member of the church in order to be a volunteer, so this was not a big burden for me. The ONLY reason I volunteer is because I believe that it is a Christian calling for me. My kids (the ones that call me dad) enjoy the camp, but they are old enough that camp is their own thing. I don't do camp to be with them, but to facilitate the experience.

    The 15 (I originally said 8, but have since found out it was 15 total) baptisms we had and the experiences of 320 campers made it totally worth my time. My kids always ask me how I enjoyed camp, and they don't seem to understand when I say that camp is not just a hard job, but a hard and long job.

    But, while I dread the work each year, I do in fact, enjoy the experience.

    Remember this: your camp director can only run you over if you let him. You are right in that getting nurse volunteers are the most difficult ones to get. Next year, set some ground rules in advance. And refuse to do anything that you feel is unsafe, a violation of privacy, or just unfair. I mean, what's he gonna do, fire you?

    I'm glad you enjoyed the experience in balance. My first year, I was lost. Going back, I had a much better idea of what to expect. . . and what to demand.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    Last edit by ZASHAGALKA on Aug 21, '06


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