I'm wanting a little input from nurses with experience with being out of clinical practice for a while and going back to it and/or camp nursing.
I have been an RN for 10 yrs but have been out of clinical practice for the past few years, except for some telephone triage. I may have an opportunity to work as a camp nurse and am wondering if anyone has experience with this. It sounds like it would be a piece of cake, for the most part, but I worry that I am oversimplifying it. My biggest concern is the fact that I have been out of face-to-face patient care for a while. Is it like riding a bike?
This is my third summer as a camp nurse, but have been a staff member for many years at the same camp before I got my RN. For the past year and half I had been doing solely telephone triage for a large practice.
Camp nursing varies depending on setting, but is much lower acuity. Lots of sore throats, colds, stomach aches, cuts, scraps. A good chunk is figuring out what is homesickness etc. I pack trip kits and give daily meds. Figure out who needs to go to the doctor and who we can treat within our standing orders in camp... I don't have any issues going from the phone to this... I love it! Lots of work, but good work
Getting kids their meds, especially antidepressants/antipsychotics, can be like herding cats. If they don't come to you, you need to find them. Stuff like that. Being prepared and trained to deal with psych emergencies is critical too. What questions to ask, when to get the kid to a hospital etc.
The camp I worked at had written protocols that covered all the basics. Assessment skills are are also important - actual illness versus exhaustion or homesickness. My skill set is an a very different area from camp nursing (I am a hospice RN) but I'm also an EMT. The running joke was that they hoped that neither of my skills sets would be needed that week!
We didn't have any true emergencies that week thankfully, but I was familiar with the equipment and resources available. I was very comfortable working in this setting and had a wonderful camp experience.
I did my "homework" prior to camp and joined the Association of Camp Nurses. They have a lot of resources/ info available which helped me prepare and be familiar with some of the issues with the camp nurse role.
Camp was a great change of pace for me. I can't wait until next year!