How Do I get a Camp job for next summer? - page 2

Do they hire LPN's? I would really love to do this during the summer...... Read More

  1. by   CampNurse1
    Great post, Korky! You touched on something that drives me nuts. It is nearly impossible to get set up in just a couple of days. During your time before camp you have to:

    1. Get the health center ready. You might have some help, but don't count on it, and, lol, some helpers are worse than no helpers at all. The health center will need to be cleaned thoroughly, especially if it has not been used in several months. Or, you may find that some staff member lived there during the off-season and left a mess. If the building has been completely unused, expect rodents, and, hopefully, they haven't destroyed too much of your supplies. You have to do a good inventory. Look in every nook and cranny! You'll find some supplies that someone in the 60's or 70's thought might be useful! You'll have to procure supplies. Check the AED. Check the 02. Check expiration dates. What are the standing orders? You may have to write them out yourself and get the Medical Director to sign them. Sometimes he/she is not very available. Expect some push back from the boss on what is necessary. You'll have to wash all the linen. It's been in storage a while.

    2. Get settled. You'll have to clean your living quarters, for the same reasons as the infirmary. Move your stuff in and get organized. TV? Wifi hotspot? Laundry? Groceries? You get the idea. Walk around and figure out where things are. Hopefully, you will have toured the camp before you took the job. Say hello, and be friendly to everyone, you're going to need them. Make friends with the camp secretary, she gets you paid, and knows who is who. (Kinda like Unit Secretaries on the wards. They are undervalued. A Unit Secretary can make or break you!).

    3. Review your records. Computer or paper? Get some ideas from last year's records. It is sooooooo true about campers and staff not having health records. ACA accredited camps require good documentation on everyone, yet this is something often "let slide." This is a good thing to talk about during your interview. You may have several hundred records to review and organize. Do you have to create your own MARs? If the camp is sloppy about documentation, you are headed for trouble, and will find yourself in the ER with no consent or documentation to give the ER physician. Get your records organized. If you find you are doing a lot of writing during check-in, you are not ready.

    4. Get to know who the "movers-and-shakers" are, and who the "wannabes" are. Both of them have value.

    5. Make a dry run to the hospital and the doctor's office. That way you'll know where they are in a pinch. Get them into your navigator. Make sure you have all the phone numbers you'll need.

    6. How are your meds organized? Blister packs? Prescription bottles? Roll packs? Some camps have the pharmacy mail their meds in. Some parents try to help you out by putting multiple meds in one bottle, unlabeled. What is your policy about mislabeled or mis-packaged medications? Work it out with your boss before check-in, and expect non-compliant parents. That way it is not so stressful. Many nurse practice acts forbid repackaging, and, even when not forbidden, it is not good practice.

    The above is all stuff you have to give your attention to before the first camper shows up. It is a lot for a new camp nurse, not so bad with a little experience. I believe the minimum time for set up is one week. You will probably not be offered much more than that because of the expense of having you there. Camp culture makes a lot of difference here. Some camps will give you all of the support you need. Some Camp Directors are in over their heads. Some Directors try to be a nurse. Some camps are professional, some are ad hoc. It is good to remember that ad hoc is not a plan, but a dependence on luck. Proper planning is the heart of the nursing process. Look for these clues during your interview. Ask questions about these points, and, make your judgement.

    I am fortunate, because I live and work full-time, year round at my camp. I have the best camp job ever. I do not know of any other camp that values nursing this much. I am getting ready for next summer even now. If you are looking for a nursing job in the southeast next summer, feel free to contact me.

    What I've written here looks a little scary, but, as they say, "Get organized, and get down the hall." Camp nursing is amazing! I always promise new nurses two things: You will remember this summer for the rest of your life. Someone you meet will remember you for the rest of their life.

    Sorry for the long post! Good luck in your search.