New to Camp Nursing

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    I just graduated from Nursing School in 2010 and was asked to be the Band Camp Nurse at my alma mater last year. I work full time on a Med/Surg floor at a hospital. At camp, we got a visit from the CT DPH and I was scared out of my mind. I have poured through DPH's website and have tried google searches. DPH told me last year my standing orders weren't enough and were limiting what I could do with my license. I had orders for ibuprofen, kaopektate, tylenol, benadryl and pepto and parents checked off if I could give those meds. So what else do I need?
    I also had a diabetic kid. I'm wondering what other special orders I need for her? And do those come from her physician or the camp physician?
    Any suggestions for me?
    I'm planning on doing camp again this summer.
    Thanks!
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    At my camp we have a sheet for OTC meds including tylenol, motrin, benadryl, claritin, cough drops, tums, calamine lotion, sunscreen, bug spray, bactine and neosporin. This has to be signed by the campers physician. As for your kiddo with diabetes, all orders need to come from his/her own physician.
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    I recommend joining the Association of Camp Nurses (ACN) (www.acn.org) which is a very cost-effective way to learn a great deal about camp nursing. See if the camp will pay for the membership! It benefits them to have you practicing as well as you possibly can. ACN has a quarterly journal that, among other things, includes camp-related continuing education for nurses.
    Regulation of camps varies state by state, so there is no "blanket answer" to many camp nursing questions. However, it's also important to know if your camp is American Camp Association (ACA) accredited, because then in the absence of state regulations, you are held to ACA standards. www.acacamps.org is the website. ACA has fantastic resources, as well.
    IMHO far too many camps just kind of "wing it" with nursing care, and this is terribly wrong. Unlike hospitals, which are run by healthcare people, camps are generally not run by healthcare people, and the directors often literally don't know an RN from an LPN from an EMT.
    CampNurse1 likes this.
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    Standing orders have gone the way of the dodo in most clinical settings, but not at camp. Our camp physician signed an 11 page set of standing orders, but, I mostly ignore it, assess carefully, and send campers out for advanced care if they need much more than first aid. It is important for new camp nurses to remember they are running a first aid and respite center, not a hospital. It is sooooo true that camp directors know little to nothing about nursing, except for a stereotype. I don't hold this against them; after all, they did not go to nursing school. The dangerous directors are the ones who try to practice nursing, and prescribe what treatment you should do. Stand your ground.

    I get each parent's signature on my campers' MARs. Be sure and have some kind of system for documenting meds, and your care in general. Get a signature on whatever you come up with. Generic treatment releases are okay, but specific ones are better.

    Diabetic care is usually self-directed, just like at home. Unless they are nuts, lol, I do what my diabetic clients tell me to. Get orders from the physician. Diabetics are usually pretty non-compliant, so if you follow orders, it will probably be a first! Watch for hypoglycemia, from the increased activity.

    Get ready for a lot of cramps and sprained ankles with no crepitus or swelling. Kids at band camp stay up too late and get tired of the long practices, especially if they are marching in the heat. Good luck!


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