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Are Camp Nurses allowed to remove splinters?

Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Columnist Innovator Expert Nurse

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

Dear Nurse Beth,

I am contemplating a camp nurse position in CT state. Are camp nurses allowed to remove splinters? I have worked in NY and this is not allowed. Please advise.

Dear Camp Nurse,

Good question! You are thinking ahead about your scope of practice, and protecting your license.

Removing a splinter is something we all do in normal life, and no one thinks of it as a medical procedure. But removing a splinter as an employee and a Registered Nurse …, you're smart to be concerned, that's a whole different ball game.

Reframing splinter removal as removal of foreign body” or penetrates/severs tissue” puts it clearly in the medical realm.

Of course common sense says that if the splinter is jutting out of the skin and it's easy to grasp with tweezers, the liability is low to none. But I'm sure you've considered other scenarios. What if the splinter was embedded, the child was diabetic, and the wound did not heal? How would you disinfect/sterilize a sharp?

Camps do not always provide explicit do's and don't's” for Camp Nurses. Even when they do, the higher authority is your licensing body, the CT Department of Public Health (DPH).

I'm not able to find splinter removal specifically addressed in the CT Nurse Practice Act, but there may be some camp nurses on site who can weigh in.

The good news is, splinter removal can be delayed without immediate consequence. Fortunately, non-invasive first aid, TLC, and a band-aid will suffice in the short term.

Have a great time being camp nurse!

Bonus Tip: Be prepared for the homesickness that kicks in on Day 2 :) and make sure your nursing insurance is up to date.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth

P.S. I checked with a friend of mine who is a school nurse is CA, and they are not permitted to remove spinters


Edited by Nurse Beth
additional info


Specializes in Post Anesthesia. Has 30 years experience.

I'm sure this is a facillity specific question. I doubt you will find a "splinter" clause in any states scope of practice/ nurse practice act. I think this is why I would be driven NUTS by camp nursing. If you do anything more challenging than what you could expect from a cub scout and you are at risk for all sorts of litigation. No thanks.