Qualified?

  1. Hey there everyone.

    I am a first year nursing student in Canada. I have worked at a camp for the past 3 years as a counselor/recreation staff/anything and everything. I am considering returning as the first aid attendant this summer, after I take my Level 3 Occupational First Aid, which is equivalent to an EMT's standing. I am looking for some opinions as to whether I would be suitable for the position. The director is very keen on hiring me, and is acting as though I have already accepted the job, so there is a little bit of pressure in that direction. He is also planning on taking his Level 3 First Aid, and the senior staff are all qualified in first aid and CPR, so I wouldn't be alone if a serious emergency occurred.

    I know a lot of it comes down to my personal comfort level being in this postition. I feel confident in my basic assessment skills and first aid abilities. I stay calm under pressure and think quickly.

    Is it ridiculous to think that with some serious studying of first aid, assessment, and pediatrics that I will be prepared? I am willing to do tons of research and preparation for this.

    As others who have been there and done that, I'd love to know your thoughts.

    Thanks!
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   EricJRN
    Things are a lot different here in the US I think. In order to graduate from an EMT program/have EMT standing, you have to complete hospital and prehospital clinical rotations. Which agency sponsors this first aid training there? It might help us to better understand the situation.
  4. by   BonnieSc
    Quote from EricEnfermero
    In order to graduate from an EMT program/have EMT standing, you have to complete hospital and prehospital clinical rotations.
    Since when? Or is that perhaps a state-by-state requirement? The only "clinical rotation" experience I had in my EMT training was a four-hour ambulance ridealong (and we didn't even have to answer any calls), yet I was state certified, nationally registered.

    I don't know anything about the Canadian system, but I'm taking your word for it that Level 3 Occupational First Aid is truly equivalent to US EMT. (I've heard people tell others that their First Responder or Wilderness First Aid certifications are equivalent to EMT. Umm, not so much.)

    I take it that if you're the "first aid attendant" you'll be the primary health care provider for the camp? If it's a resident camp not within a few minutes of a hospital, then you're not qualified according to ACA (American Camp Association), the only accrediting body for summer camps; however, accreditation is totally optional. Is it a Canadian camp or a US camp?

    In actuality? Yeah, you sound qualified to me, based on the knowledge that camps have a hard time finding nurses and so have to hire less-educated personnel. The fact that you have quite a bit of camp experience makes you more qualified than some RNs I've seen try to be camp nurses. Most of the stuff that goes on at camp is very basic. Your medication training, for instance, will help you give medications safely; that's probably going to be at least half your job. Know your limits. Identify local resources to call on if you need help; for instance, I sometimes called the advice nurse at the nearest medical center to get a sort of second opinion when necessary, and of course I contacted the doctor we had a relationship with if it was during his office hours. (Small town doctors are awesome!) Absolutely purchase the book THE BASICS OF CAMP NURSING--it's an outstanding resource. Keep a drug guide handy. Make plans with your director about who will be running the show if there's an emergency (it should be you, IMO).

    It's not about your comfort level; it's about your ability. But it sounds like you're committed to doing the work necessary to do a good job with this. And it will be outstanding experience for your future--far beyond what students working as CNAs and externs next summer will get. Good luck, if you decide to accept the job.
  5. by   Lillow
    Hi! Thanks for your advice. I appreciate it! It is a Canadian camp, and our camp accreditation authority requires the Level 3 first aid course, even for RNs and doctors, which I discovered through some further research. Interesting, no?

    The nearby town is small, so there is a likelihood of having a good contact with a doctor there. Good idea! The hospital is about 30 minutes away.

    It's nice to hear that I would be getting a more enriching experience than I would as nursing support staff at a hospital. I'm still living at home, and my parents seem to think I would get better experience as a care aide...their favorite line is "join the real world and stop going to camp". I disagree! Camp is definitely not a holiday.

    I actually am encouraged about the whole thing right now. I had my nursing lab final exam today and passed with flying colours. We did the basics...injections, sterile dressing changes, medication administration, charting, etc. The instructor was impressed with my knowledge and calm demeanour...even though I was as nervous as anything! At least I can portray confidence and hide my nervousness effectively! It's definitely good to hear "You really couldn't have improved on anything..." What a confidence booster!

    I figure that if I can make a reasonable amount of money at the camp I will actually enjoy my summer...I should go for it...thanks for the input.
  6. by   Nur_1996
    Sounds like you will be great medical staff person. One of the best people at one of my camps, was the assistant director, she was not formally trained in medical, but was always ready to handle any emergency. As far as joining the "real world" I agree with you, camp is the real world, only a little better.
  7. by   edgwow
    I have some concerns about you overstepping your bounds as a "first responder" EMT. I would definitely do camp if I were you, but you must remember not to practice outside your scope of practice and training. If you didn't learn it, can you leagally do it? What about medication administration? If you do, you risk a liability lawsuit from a parent, or as an agent of the camp, as a health provider. Make sure you have your own insurance. I would imagine EMT's can get insurance in case there is ever a lawsuit brought against you.
  8. by   Lillow
    Thanks for the input...I may have misled you since you're from the states and Canadian designations are different...I don't know how accurate the EMT comparison I made is.

    I am taking my Occupational First Aid Level 3 Course which is the level required by the BC Camping Association for the camp and the Worker's Compensation Board (a provincial government branch) for workplaces. So I'm pretty sure it will be all good.

    Insurance issues aren't as harsh in Canada as they are in the US...haha. I don't have to be super worried about getting sued for every little thing.

    I will be in my scope of practice...if I can't deal with the issue it's probably life threatening anyway and warrants a visit to the ER. Medication administration has been covered in my first semester...It's alllll good.

    But thank you for your help. I'll keep in mind that I am only a student. Being humble and aware is a good thing.

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