Camp Nursing - page 2

by mcg02 | 4,844 Views | 11 Comments

Hi to all!!! I live in Georgia and I am interested in doing camp nursing summer 2004 in the south (Alabama, North or South Carolina, Florida, Tenn etc) Can anyone let me know of tehir past experiences as camp nurses such as a... Read More


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    Your experience sounds similar to mine, but I didn't find it to be as bad.
    -Yes, I was tired, my day started at 8am and ended 10-1030pm (unless there was a big issue).
    -I had my 4 year old with me, and she basically kept my hours (she needed to watch every kid come in my office). If there was a lull during HS meds, I would try to get her to sleep. She and I were exhausted (of course, she wouldn't admit to it!)
    -Not too big on the supplies. Needed to go to the drugstore to get Ace bandages and refills on tylenol and cough drops (next yr I'll borrow from the hospital) :chuckle
    -I did have to send one kid to the ER via ambulance (asthma attack), the camp director followed behind in a camp vehicle, and another staff member went in the ambulance. I stayed behind, in case someone else needed me.
    -I didn't find the routine meds to be a big deal, by the end of the week, I made it clear that they couldn't stroll in at any hour.
    -Other than that, most of it was bull----. My this hurts, my that hurts, lots of homesickness. Everyone's throat hurted!! I went through cough drops like you wouldn't believe!! Some kids had a new complaint each day, or after each meal. And I guess the counselors don't discourage them from coming to me (they thought most of the kids complaints were legit- THEY WEREN'T!!).
    -I took it all with a grain of salt- my daughter had a great time!! And I learned alot about the psychology of 'healthy' children, something I don't have experience with. They are very cute- and very dependent on adults, and most lack any decision making ability if mommy or daddy is not there. I did lots of mommying :kiss
    Last edit by ProfRN4 on Aug 14, '04
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    I was a camp nurse in NY last summer for one month. I brought along my son for free. He had the time of his life but I worked like a dog. From the moment my feet hit the floor at 7am until I went to bed at midnight, I was busy. It was a very, very long day. The camp had about 260 kids and two nurses. The owners were pretty good and anytime we needed anything they would get it, no questions asked. But I soon realized that they have their hands full with a million other things and wanted the infirmary to run pretty much on it's own and didn't want us to bother them with details. Thank God I got along well with the other nurse, because if I didn't I would have been screwed. We had some great laughs, but it was a long, long day. I was shocked at how many kids were medicated and I'm a school nurse so it's not like I am out of touch.

    After every meal, the line to see the nurses was at least 20 kids deep and often more. It was nothing terrible---bandaids, coughs, tummy aches and so on. A lot of attention-seeking behaviors, campers and counselors alike. I was two for three in dx broken bones (one was a false alarm). Also saw shingles, ear infections and URI's out the wazoo (we called it kennel cough). Had some seizures, some kids with real psycho/social problems where I felt like I was in way over my head, but found just plain being kind goes a long way. Had frequent flyers, of course, who came every day and I wished I could just slap them upside their head and say, "You want something to cry about?" But of course, that is a big no-no these days. Pity.

    The good things about it were that we could be pretty autonomous...I have ten years ER experience, plus four years of school nursing and three years of float pool, so I was pretty confident about my skills. Nothing happened that I felt I really could not handle. I would say if you have ER experience, or peds experience, or are a mom, you would be fine. But be prepared to work hard and to be woken up in the middle of the night.

    Tips: NEVER work at a camp where there is only one nurse. Unless the owners put it in writing, in a contract, you will never get time off. The more nurses, the better it is. Find out ahead of time how days off work; we did our own scheduling which was ok, but they said we'd get two nights off each week and one full 24 hour day. Totally unfeasible, unless you didn't mind leaving your partner completely alone for all that time; their work load is doubled when one is off. We ended up getting one 12 hour day off and one evening off each week. Which was fine.

    Find out exactly what your duties will be and where you will sleep. Get it all in writing. I find as I look for a camp job for this coming year (I haven't decided if I will go back to the same camp) that the camp's website is an indication of how valued their nurses are--if the "staff" or "employment" site has only info about counselors, no info about nursing, than you are just a technicality, not a valued member of their staff. In my opinion.

    Finally, although it was a lot of work, I wasn't the only working hard. Everyone was. I got very attached to some of those kids. I could see how a good camp could save lives. Literally. If you are a self-starter, don't expect it to be a nine to five job, have a good sense of humor and don't mind hard work, you'll do fine.


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