I've noticed that the incidence of frequent fliers is about the same among pre-teen campers as in the general population that frequents the ED where I work the other 51 weeks a year. It seems that about half of our contacts at camp are with the same 10% of the campers. I wonder what factors motivate kids (and adults) to (ab)use medical resources when they have unfettered access.
Dec 19, '06
I think a lot of it has to do with learned sick roles: some kids are used to having every little cut or every headache become a big deal. (I once got an irate letter from a parent because her daughter had had a stomachache and I gave her a peppermint to settle her stomach--the basic theme was "what kind of medical care is this?!"--I stand by my treatment
.) So either they get sick (or whatever) and beg to go to the nurse--or they don't have anything wrong with them, but have found in the past that "being sick" is a great way to get attention.
Homesick campers tend to visit more often, of course. And I've noticed the phenomenon even with teenage campers--in just about every older group, one girl becomes known as "the accident prone one"--they love to come to the health center and sing out "It's me again!" because that's their role in their group, and it's working for them.