Most commom camp issues and tips...

  1. As I mentioned below, there are several of us who are new to the camp nursing scene. I currently work in an ER and I'm good with dealing with the major issues in a hospital setting (i.e. monitors, IV access,etc.) but would like tips on more of the routine issues I am bound to encounter in a camp setting. I am working at a girls camp in the mountains if that helps.

    Can we start a string of most common camp issues and helpful tips for dealing with them ?
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    About carachel2

    Joined: Jun '05; Posts: 1,124; Likes: 857


  3. by   nightingale
    It would be nice to organize a list and we could make a Sticky (I will take care of that) . Most common issues REALLY vary. A Girl Scout camp’s idiosyncrasies would be VERY different then a private camp in the Berkshire Mountain (which is what I did a few years ago). So, you the posters get to decide; and that IS the beauty of this Bulletin Board is the input of the posters involved.

    Perhaps a good way to start out is with this thread info for supplies. I found this here:

    Howdy all! Today I was offered a position as camp nurse at a science camp here in Missouri.

    I am so happy, excited, and yes, anxious!

    I will be the only nurse there (80 kids), and in the few days before the campers arrive, I want to make sure the health lodge is well-stocked with everything I might need.

    I know I'll need:
    wound cleanser
    ice packs
    hot packs
    Calamine Lotion
    hydrocortisone cream
    Aloe vera gel
    Ace wraps

    and OTC meds:
    Pepto Bismol

    I know I'm forgetting a ton of stuff!

    What can you add to this list?

    Posters added:

    We used lots of ice (a cube or two at a time) wrapped in papertowel for bee stings.

    Add Calamine lotion.

    Make sure the kiddos have their meds coming in with the prescription bottle.

    safety pins
    alcohol preps
    Be sure you have MANY sizes of bandaids
    tampons and pads
    lice shampoo
    extra insect repellent and sunscreen
    rubbing alcohol (to dry up water in the ear)
    cough drops
    decongestant (usually use this only for staff)
    cotton balls (multiple uses)
    triangular bandages
    liquid versions of medications
    peppermints to settle stomachs
    epi-pens (regular and Jr doses)
    baby wipes--used a lot in the first aid kits to clean scrapes before bandaging "in the field"--and occasionally in the health center for a hard-to-wash place
    eye wash (love that insect repellent... and the dust)

    I'll probably think of more later.

    Ice is SO important! I freeze it in plastic med cups... very convenient for beestings and swollen mosquito bites, and to numb slivers a little.

    lemon drops for sore throats

    white vinegar. It takes the sting out of beestings and is easy to apply to multiple stings,instead of those little sting pads or applicators. Good luck. Sharon

    One little tool that may reduce the emotional trauma of removing a spinter is an emeryboard (for fingernails). If you can use the board to pull the splinter out (applying slight pressure and pulling it in the direction directly opposite of the splilnter) you could remove it without having to remove it with a small gauge needle.

    It is worth a try, I have used this technique and have achived good succsess.

    I have been a School Nurse and Camp Nurse for a few years. I would add to this great list some non-medical supplies. Safety pins, sewing supplies, eye glass repair kit, Contact solution. Also I have found that putting hydrogen peroxide in a small spray bottle is great for cleaning knee scrapes, etc, without having to "touch it". Other indispensible items include running shoes, a big heart, patience, and a sense of humor!
    Happy Summer....

    Good thinking on the repair kit! I've used ours many times. I sometimes use plain water in a spray bottle to clean wounds--no "ouch".

    On this link: You will find the entire listing of Camp Nurse Info here at AllNurses going back to April of 2001. Sometimes, it helps to look through those threads to see what info we have available. Again, this is a shared Bulletin Board. We can add what we want, within the guidelines of TOS (you can link to that in my signature line). Let’s organize what we want to organize and let me know how you want it done.

    Please keep in mind, I am a volunteer here at AllNurses, and, just like most of you, I have a full time job and family etc… I rarely have time to spend a great volume of time on one project and, like most volunteers, I am challenged for time. I also moderate several Forums, so.. if anyone would like to get some of this going, it is GREATLY appreciated. Again, the list can vary greatly with the type of camp you are working at or have had experience in. My basic philosophy is, “there is never one correct answer” but ideas we can share and input we can ALL gain from. Please feel free to PM me if you have questions or concerns, anytime.

    One of the tips I would have for the Camp Nurse is to work out what you will do with all of YOUR free time. The books on tape, and books I brought saved me from lonliness. I also brought stamped envelopes, addresses for letter writing. The Counselors were polite but never invited me out to get off the grounds with htem. I had no vehicle and that was s challenging adjustment. I felt like I was marrooned on an Island with little of my regular life intact. Often, I was notallowed to the leave the Medical Building so I could remain "available" appropriate for meeting the needs of the campers and staff. Again, we have all had differnet situations.

    I hope we get lots of feedback and input regarding this topic.
  4. by   nightingale
    Here is a tip from another poster:

    Thanks to jogmom for this fantastic "natural" lice treatment. We can add the following to our list:

    Vaseline (saturate hair & scalp)
    shower caps (keep on vaselined hair for 4 hours)
    Prell shampoo (shampoo)
    vinegar (rinse after shampoo)
    nit comb
  5. by   Seashell06
    I am a new grad taking a camp nursing position this summer. Just wanted to say thanks for all the rich tidbits you all gave. May the Lord Bless you all!
  6. by   marybethm
    Something I learned at camp last year...many docs do not give Pepto Bismol to kids due to it containing aspirin. I guess it's the virus connection. I do not give it any longer, either.
    Also, I think the best preparation for camp nursing is ER nursing. I worked ER for ten years and good assessment skills, which is what you need when you have no doctor. My co-workers had no ER experience and were really good at organizing and paperwork. We made an excellent team, if I do say so.
  7. by   homer
    I will be a volunteer camp nurse for children ages 8-10 years. This is a new experience for me as my skills have been mostly adminstrative the past 10 years. Do you know of an online course I could take to brush up on camp related skills and assessment?
  8. by   DanidelionRN
    I am a nursing student, but I have been the assistant to the nurse at summer camp the past two summers, at a bible-camp in WI, that has eight weeks of camp, (11 weeks of being there) and around 180-200 kids per week.

    The most common things that we saw at camp were:
    -colds (Robitussin, Mucinex, antihistamines and decongestants... we tended to give the ingredients separately to treat the symptoms there, and avoided most of the "dayquil" sort of products.)
    -slivers (I found some unused lancets that were made to go inside a lancet device (the little ones with blue plastic on them) and discovered that they are ideal for removing splinters; they are sharp like a needle or "splinter-out" device is, but they have a bright blue "handle" that seemed to leave the kids much less distressed about being poked.)
    (particularly knees, fingers, feet, lips, elbows, shins)
    -UPSET STOMACH- related to homesickness, dehydration, overeating/rich food, too much junk food, some actual disease;
    -Asthmatic reactions
    -bloody noses
    -bee-stings without reaction
    -Mild allergic reactions- only during the end of the first year I was there, was there any anaphylaxis- and that was in a case where the nurse was unavailable and the first thing that we did, after finding out that it was not the kids' asthma acting up, was that we called the EMTs. They are about 2 minutes out.

    Other less frequent injuries/issues:
    -people who fell off of horses or had their feet stepped on by them;

    -trauma to the head or body from being hit by a carpetball; (an outdoor game at camp, which uses bocce balls)

    -broken bones- a girl broke her arm playing basketball one year, and this past year, the daughter of one of thecamp speakers had her arm run over by the camp director's son when she fell down in front of his bike, (complete freak accident) and she broke both radius and ulna in her arm; her parents were there so it was no big deal; also, my boyfriend who happened to be working at camp, fractured his radius when he rolled a go-cart. That was, by far, the most serious thing we dealt with- he had to go home and have surgery, and the placement of a steel plate and 7 screws into his arm.

    -we had a staff member who complained of a stomach-ache that we couldn't treat with any sort of OTC meds for stomach aches. she had type 2 diabetes that was out of control and not medicated, and that she had blood sugar of about 300+ and did not want to go to the doctor because of insurance... now i look at it and can see very plainly, that she showed the symptoms of hyperglycemia. (we did our best to encourage her to avoid most carbohydrate foods, and eat healthily and exercise- but she didn't comply... and we sent her home after a few weeks, because she needed to get more medical attention.

    things we used up a lot:
    band-aids: particularly knuckle bandaids; large bandaids; transparent dressings are amazing ;
    antiseptic wipes,
    CHILDRENS TYLENOL/IBUPROFEN (we found it useful to have both liquid and solid forms- liquid for the younger children, and then tablets, up to age 12; camp only had 3 weeks where we really had any kids under 12, as 3 weeks were 3rd-6th grade, and the other three were 7th-12th grades.)
    antibacterial gel
    ICE! Ice is the cure-all for injuries at camp. At least 75% of the things we had happen, were more emotion and stress than real pain, so the first thing we did to relieve pain was always to send the kid to sit down with an ice-pack. Most of the time, by the time the ice-pack was warm, the kid's pain was gone, and so was his/her focus on the problem... which usually started out when the kid got "hurt" not wanting to participate in an activity.
    If ice didn't work, then we generally decided that it was real injury, and gave the kids ibuprofen or tylenol.

    ...a lot of other stuff I can't think of....

    we also had a supply of gatorade, glucose tablets, lip balm, sanitary supplies, and

    We had some very extensive standing orders with the very cooperative doctor in town, so that we had standing orders to treat nearly any common problem that parents treat at home. One thing that was neat about them is that we had standing orders for double the bottle dosage of tussin- this seemed to be a lot more effective than the single dose- and it's interesting that now Robitussin has come out with a form of their cough syrup that is twice as strong.


    DO NOT jump too quickly to send a kid to the dr's office because you're afraid his toe is broken. Call the parent first, at least- and then, remember- the doctor will look at the toe, and proceed to tape the toes together and send you on your way. The nurse I worked with sent me to the dr with a boy whose toe was hurting a lot- and this is all he did. His opinion was that an x-ray was pointless, as the treatment would be the same, broken or not- and that we should just treat by wrapping them and giving him ibuprofen.

    One final note...

    there can be a LOT of faked injuries! Sometimes a kid wants to go home, so they fake injury to get sent home; other times they are just not wanting to participate in a game, or sit in a teaching session, or class, or other activity- or if they don't like the kind of food that the camp has, they may say they are sick, instead of admitting why they aren't eating it. Sometimes, they even just like the attention of being injured, so when the opportunity arises to get the nurses' attention and some crutches, and rides around camp... they jump at it!

    Of course- this is all just my experience, and has only had 1/2 a nursing program's knowledge applied to it... but it certainly seemed that nursing at camp is very basic compared to most other places.
  9. by   teeniebert
    When I wasn't passing meds, I was making kids drink water (anyone with a 'headache' or 'upset stomach' had to drink 16 oz of water and sit quietly for 10 minutes...amazing how much better they felt after being forcibly hydrated!), wrapping ankles (how many times did we tell you no running? HELLO?!?), or reassuring homesick kids the other staff didn't want to deal with.
  10. by   DanidelionRN
    Yeah... i forgot the water part. My major role at camp as the nurse's assistant was keeping all the water coolers around camp filled with nice icy water, and well supplied with cups. This also ended up including chasing kids away from the coolers when they were just having water fights. (we had a lake- if they wanted to play in the water, they could go swimming) I found some pretty gross things inside the coolers sometimes, though- like when a kid put his gatorade bottle inside the cooler to "keep it cold". yuck!!!
  11. by   CoachCathy
    When a child comes in complaining of a tummy ache/head ache, immediately check temp and pulse - great indicators of heat exhaustion. Remember that the pulse will elevate faster than the temp, so it's a better indicator.
  12. by   muffin7
    Quote from homer
    I will be a volunteer camp nurse for children ages 8-10 years. This is a new experience for me as my skills have been mostly adminstrative the past 10 years. Do you know of an online course I could take to brush up on camp related skills and assessment?

    Hi Homer,

    Were you able to find any online courses on camp related skills and assessment?????
  13. by   Liddle Noodnik
    Quote from muffin7
    Hi Homer,

    Were you able to find any online courses on camp related skills and assessment?????
    Yes I would like to know too!

    (wonder if I can get internet access there so I can bring my Allnurses with me ?!?!)
  14. by   muffin7
    I am also interested in camp related skills and assessment info