Day Camp OTC med Question

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    Have a question that came up. I volunteer as a Day Camp nurse for Girl Scout Day camp. I'm in a new geographical location and they are wanting me (an RN) to administer OTC with only parent permission - I've said No I don't think so but I will check with BON to be sure. This is in WA state. I volunteered as Camp Nurse for Girl Scout Daycamp in Fort Worth and did administer prescribed meds but NO OTC, as RN's don't prescribe! And they don't have a doc that can sign standing orders.

    Have any of you more experienced Camp nurses come up with this and how did you rectify it.

    Any guidance would be appreciated.
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    Do they have protocols in place that have been signed by an MD? (These are different from standing orders.)

    Yes, camps expect nurses to do this. You're treating symptoms described by the kid, not diagnosing her/his illness. I can't imagine doing it any other way, since few camps have a doctor on site, and the parents would flip if we said we couldn't give their kids Tylenol for headaches. I have heard of some camps administering only the OTCs the family supplies (similar to how many schools handle the problem). Good luck!
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    Hmmm. OK, here's what I would do. Check with the Board of Nursing in your state for their requirements. Then go from there.
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    Thanks for the input. I did call the BON and got the word from them. No nurses can NOT administer meds without MD order unless waivers are signed by parents but BON said even then it is questionable.

    So that is the position I'm staying with..... It seems that the day camp is going to try to get a first aider to come and do it or find a nurse who isn't savy and unknowingly puts her license at risk.
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    Shammy, I am confused. If the parents sign a waiver, why would that still be questionable?

    Specifically what would be questionable?

    The BON seems to want not to commit itself, maybe?

    I think school nurses generally call a parent in every case before giving a Tylenol, Motrin, etc. It seems the safest course of action. Why not do that? It would be time-consuming, yes, but you'd keep your license. Of course, you probably won't get the job. \

    What have camp nurses done in the past?
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    You said in your original post that they want you to administer OTCs "with only parent permission", so I assumed you meant either a waiver had been signed, or you were calling for permission, which satisfies the BON apparently.

    I would never, ever give any OTC unless I had parent permission to do so, preferably in writing.

    Generally, camps either have a general waiver form ("you can give my kid any OTC", with space for them to write in any exceptions--for instance, many parents write in "NO ASPIRIN" or "NO COUGH MEDICINE") or a list of the OTCs the camp carries with a checkbox next to each one if the parent approves it. This one does seem a bit safer to me, but ours is the first type, and in three full seasons of resident camp we've never had a complaint about giving a kid an OTC. We've had several about the kid NOT getting an OTC--"you told my kid to drink water when she had a headache instead of giving her Tylenol!" "my kid had a stomachache and you gave her a peppermint?!".

    Again, this is the way camps work, all over the country. I suggest contacting the Association of Camp Nurses, who would have more info about whether a nurse has ever had her license challenged for this... but it sounds like you're moving on.
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    I worked at a camp in New York last year, and will be returning this year. However, being a newer nurse (2 years), I had loads of questions about what I should be doing, and so, was very cautious with the campers. I probably sent too many to the ER for evaluation. Where would I call before the season starts this year about my questions? The director was new last year - and came from Massachusetts - so she was unclear about alot of New York laws. Any ideas? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks


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