Who's been to heart camp in the south? Camp Braveheart, Camp Bon Coeur?

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    I'm interested in spending some time in summer '06 at a heart camp. My husband had a congenital heart defect and ultimately a transplant and he's also interested in being a counselor. I think we'd make a good team.
    Has anyone spent time at heart camp?

    Rebecca
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  4. 0
    I have been to camp bon couer several times as camp nurse, and am planning on going again this summer. It is great! The campers are great, the counselors are great. I have just as much fun as the kids! I love it!!!!
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    Thanks for your reply, glascow! I'd like to ask you a few questions.
    Do you have peds experience, or do you feel like you need to have peds experience to be a nurse at camp bon couer?
    Do you go for the whole summer? Are there short term volunteer stints, say, for one or two weeks at a time, or do you have to go for the whole summer?
    Are any of the staff heart patients/former heart patients themselves?
    I'd love to hear more about your experience. You can PM me if you'd rather do that.
    Again, thanks!!
    Rebecca
  6. 0
    I'll answer here so others can get the info.

    The first time I went I had NO peds experience, only adult ICU, had just been a nurse less than one yr I think. I think I was able to function pretty well, no problems that I couldn't handle. (well, I did have to learn how to remove fiberglass from the back of the the camper's legs after their canoe trip! But that was no problem, the campers told me what to do, Duck tape!)
    I was very comfortable with the meds I gave, it was the same I was giving to my adult pts, Lasix, Lanoxin, beta-blockers, etc. your standard cardiac meds, just different doses.

    I think I stayed one week that first summer. That was back in 1993. They used to have 2 two week sessions. The younger campers first, then the older campers the next 2 weeks. This summer they are going to have all the campers there at the same time (yikes!) but they will be geographically seperated. You do not have to stay the whole time, they will work with you and usually take what ever you can offer. More recently, I have only been able to go for 1-2 days at a time. I live about 40 mins from the campsite, so that is not a problem for me.

    I did eventually get some PICU experience, and felt that the only way that helped me was that I understood the campers congenital heart defects better. In adults, it's pretty standard, MI, CHF, CAB. But the congenital defects are completely different, you REALLY need to understand your A&P of cardiac system to understand their problems. I think that is really the only "bonus" I had from my PICU experience. I didn't have to go and look up each kids problem, I already had a general understanding of the condition.

    The first time I went to camp the kids mostly had ASD, VSD, PDA repairs,or valve replacements.Tetrology was probably the most serious congenital problem we saw. (oh, you will really get good with learning your murmurs, systolic, diastolic, etc....after assessing all the kids.)

    However, the campers in the more recent years have more serious congenital heart defects, but most of them have had their corrective surgeries and are doing well. We see transposition, heart transplant, primary pulm. HTN, hypoplstic left ventricle...stuff they just weren't able to repair 10-15 yrs ago.

    Originally, all of the counselors were former campers. I think they are campers until 15 or 16 yrs old, then they can come back to camp as a CIT (counselor in training), then they return as counselors. I think within the last couple of years they have hired a few counselors who do not have congenital heart defects, but I think they majority of the counselors are former campers.

    I do not know of any of the camp nurses that have congenital heart defects. It is a great camp to go to, I enjoy it so much. I will probably just go out this summer for a few hrs at a time, to give the nurses who are staying there a break. I would love to stay longer, but my schedule just won't allow me to do more.

    I recently talked to the staff coordinator, and he told me they had several more nurses than usual interested in attending camp this summer. Are you interested in attending this summer, because if you are, you need to contact him soon, because it will be here sooner than you know!

    I would definitely recommend you do it, and I don't think your lack of peds experience will be a big factor. But you definitely have to love kids to do this job! You will get so attached to them, many of them go every summer, so you really get to know them over the years.

    Let me know if you need any more info. I hope to meet you there one day!
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    This sounds like something I'd really like to do. It's very encouraging to hear about your experiences, glascow. I won't be able to go this year--I'll be taking NCLEX this summer! Ever since my mother in law gave me an article about Camp Bon Couer a few years ago, I've had it on my list of nursing goals, and now that I'll finally be licensed, I want to make it happen. I had a chance to spend a day at a diabetes camp last summer and I had a blast. High ropes course, woo hoo! Hope to see you there next year, glascow.
    Rebecca
  8. 0
    Just read your discussion re Camp Braveheart at Camp Bon Couer. Where in the south is this located? I live near an area called Bon Secour? Sounds like a wonderful program and might be interested next summer after I, hopefully, graduate!
    Quote from porterwoman
    This sounds like something I'd really like to do. It's very encouraging to hear about your experiences, glascow. I won't be able to go this year--I'll be taking NCLEX this summer! Ever since my mother in law gave me an article about Camp Bon Couer a few years ago, I've had it on my list of nursing goals, and now that I'll finally be licensed, I want to make it happen. I had a chance to spend a day at a diabetes camp last summer and I had a blast. High ropes course, woo hoo! Hope to see you there next year, glascow.
    Rebecca
  9. 0
    Camp bon couer is in Louisiana.


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