How to cope w/ chaos - camp nursing

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    Hi guys, I went thru my annual week as camp nurse (one of two) - usually I really just love it, I am a bit anxious but once I get there and do it, I love it.

    This time it was just really busy esp. the first few days. How do you do it? I know our supplies and scope are limited but how do you manage - esp if you have a large number of campers and situations?
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  3. 5 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    Either have an EMS background or prior experience in an ED.
  5. 0
    Quote from TheSquire
    Either have an EMS background or prior experience in an ED.
    Well, that would be nice ... lol ...
  6. 1
    The thing with camp nursing is its more than anyone thinks it is. The motto this year at our healthcenter was "some days you eat the bear, and some days the bear eats you" the one thing that really helps us is making sure meds go like clockwork, which means not dropping the ball early in the season. Then its just a matter of trying to get the kids to come mostly at designated times unles it's an emergency. If you don't have sucess in getting a schedule down you will be treating campers all day and never get ahead.
    Nurse Connie likes this.
  7. 1
    I think the key for me was to stay organized right off the bat. At my camp, the kids are in different groups so I organized the meds and MAR by group. So when the sailing group came in, I could just grab their group of meds and read off the names on the MAR one by one. I had kids who got meds come before or after meals. Also, unless it was a real emergency, I worked on a first come, first serve basis.
    CampNurse1 likes this.
  8. 1
    I think it is important to make sure that nursing is a part of the camp team. Gently educate the camp director and staff about the things you need to do in order to deliver the best possible nursing. Be flexible, and offer to lend a hand to make nursing supportive of the rest of the camp experience. Do you need to deliver meds in a different way in order to make the camp schedule work better? Offer to do so. Ask questions instead of complaining. "How can we get camper so and so to get his meds on time? He never shows up on time, and I always have to track him down." The idea is to get the staff on your side.

    I do like to hire a nurse or two with ER or ICU experience, but it isn't strictly necessary. Here's why: we are not running a hospital. I train my summer nurses to "get your head out of the hospital." If a client presents with an issue that strong first aid, a nursing diagnosis, and our standing orders doesn't cover, he is going to the doctor, ER, or home. Luckily, our camp culture supports this. I have worked at camps where the culture was pretty much to diagnose and treat the camper in situ, and, I am not good at practicing medicine, lol.

    During the off-season, I take the camp doctor to lunch, and bring his office staff treats. When I call in the summer, I get him right way. And let's face it, once you have an order, you're golden.

    Nurture the camp director and staff. Some I have worked for tried to practice nursing, usually badly. Educate them out of this horrible habit. However, if the staff knows the camper better than you do, listen!

    Nurse Connie, above, is so right about being organized right off the bat. We used to say in the hospital, "You can't get down the hall until you get organized." I am very fortunate in that I am employed by my camp year 'round. During the off-season, when not doing weekend camps, I am organizing databases, working on accreditation, recruiting, improving the health center, visiting people who support our camp, attending camp fairs, and networking with other camp nurses. The off-season is also a good time to improve policy. All my summer nurses have to do when they arrive is orientate for a week, and go to work. No hand-written MARs here! Ad hoc is not a plan, just dependence on luck. Insist on a plan.

    I know every camp is different, and most of this probably doesn't apply to others, but we do have a fairly low stress level here. The work is hard enough without the stress.
    teeniebert likes this.


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