Camp Nurses, I need some help

  1. Hello to all, I am in my senior yr as an RN_BSN student. I am working on a project and would like everyones input. I have done more than my share of research on this and have viewed 100's of articles, mostly in Dermatology Journals; Here goes:
    While working on a melanoma task force in NJ under the Dept. of Health, as a student,
    I brought up the issue that no where in the strategic (5 year) cancer plan for the state, under the melanoma section was there any reference to the huge camping population. In NJ ,there are 700 lisences issued annually, serving a potential of 400,000 campers.I felt that that entire target population was being missed in referenece to education in melanoma prevention (sunskin safety precautions) and detection tools. NJ is implementing into the core curriculum content standards in education the sun safety curriculum, but I feel that the Camp Directors have a responsibility to become aware of the risks of melanoma (the most deadly form of skin cancer and primarily kills people between the ages of 25-29) to educate their staff or direct their health Director to do so. How can we reach the largest #of the target population, the camp directors, besides going to each and every camp in the state to train them. I am proposing legislation through this project that I would love to see through that entails having the Department of Safety and Sanitation (they issue summer camp liscences in NJ) send a booklet, published with the cooperation of the American Cancer Society, about the prevention and detection that be mailed with every accepted "application to run a summer camp" to each camp director annually and mandate that this info be applied into staff training for camps. All help and Ideas are greatly appreciated. Betty
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    About edgwow

    Joined: Aug '06; Posts: 168; Likes: 40
    Specialty: Case Managemnt, Utilization Review


  3. by   lynswim
    Betty -
    Wow! Love your idea - I am also working on a community health project for "my" summer camp (I'm a camp nurse).
    The Association of Camp Nurses may have some suggestions ( Maybe you could publish your project in some of the nursing magazines?
    Since I am a camp nurse, I would focus more on reaching the camp health staff - may be more receptive, since camp directors have alot on their plates.
    Maybe you could get a grant to send all the camps the brochures you mentioned?
    Let me know how it goes! Sounds fantastic!
  4. by   kcangel
    Betty, thanks for the kind words.
    Oooh, boy that might be just a tad out of my comfort zone. I can certainly give you my thoughts though...
    1. I'm not sure I agree that it's the camp directors responsibility to be up to date on this type of medical information nor to be responsible in training others in it, unless they have previous health education experience. I would say that responsibility lies with the professional health care providers.
    2. Also do we really want the non medical staff performing skin care checks on the kids? What happens if they miss something that later turns cancerous? Who would be held responsible if a parent came back to sue because something was missed by one of the teen staff members? Also would they be checking skin that is already exposed? or would they be checking skin by having the kids remove their clothing? Would they always have a 2nd adult present? I would not approve of my kids being "checked out" by any staff member other than whom I designate.
    3. With that being said would the primary responsibility lie in the hands of the health staff? In my opinion it should, however there are other things to think about here also. Do they have the time to check 400 kids for moles? Again, are they checking their arms and legs because they are accessible or are they doing to make them strip down? As a parent I prefer to handle this on my own.
    4. I think sending the information to the medical director or the nurses is a great idea, however I hesitate on making the training to the general staff mandatory. I personally hesitate on making many things mandatory.
    5. To sum it up, I think it's a great idea to send out info to those involved in the direct hands on health care administration, not the general staff. I'm not a huge suppporter in making them do skin checks either, especially on kids. Do you have any statistics that support this need in children? Your statistics represented young adults. I agree the kids do need to more vigilant in wearing their sunscreen, etc and this is something that the counselors should be encouraging as well as the health care staff.
    That's just my 2 cents on the matter. I think the motive is good, however I'm not sure about the whole process. When you are dealing with minors there is so much to consider and not a lot of legislators want to take on that type of responsibility without a perfect plan in place to handle all of the "what ifs".
  5. by   BonnieSc
    When I read the proposal I was thinking it amounted more to camp directors and staff being aware of the importance of and proper use of sunscreen, and I think that would be great--well within the scope of the camp director, actually. We used to have more parent complaints about kids getting sunburned, so I started doing more sunscreen education with the staff and with the campers and we really did see fewer sunburns. (We also have a "no tanktops" policy that helps tremendously.)

    The reason I think this information is better communicated with camp directors than the health staff is that the CD is more likely to be a "constant"--s/he is the one planning camp, getting licenses, planning staff training, year after year. Camp nurses are more likely to come in only at the beginning of the summer, probably work only one season, and maybe not even the whole summer. Some camps don't even HAVE camp nurses! But obviously, you would want to focus the policy/education on teaching people without a nursing background.

    Camp directors are already the ones who ensure their health centers are up-to-date and their health staff qualified. They have to know an enormous amount about camp health already.

    Here in CA, the health department doesn't keep track of anything like that--they always come through the health center to make sure we have locks on the medicine cabinets, hand me a stack of fliers on ticks and lyme disease, then move on to look at the bathrooms and the swimming area. I don't think they're interested in anything regarding staff training. I know that varies from state to state, but most states don't do much mandating as regards camps.

    You might consider approaching ACA (American Camp Association) about it. Not every camp belongs to the ACA, but many do, and its standards are the accepted ones in the camp world.
  6. by   edgwow
    Thanks to those that posted. I gave my presentation today to the Department of Health. If anyone would like me to send them a power point presentation of the above, I will be happy to do so,it is only 12 slides.
  7. by   edgwow
    Hi all,
    I was asked today to speak about this senior project at the Nursing Summit on Public Health in May in Piscataway NJ. I am amazed. I will have to take a day off of work, but what an opportunity.!!!!!
  8. by   kcangel
    Congrats! It always feels go to know your work as a student is appreciated.
  9. by   campnurse
    sounds like a great project, but will camp directors be able to inforce the use of sun screens. I have found that many parents don't send it to camp with the kids. One year I bought a huge supply to send off with our water skking groups and some of the kids refused to use it. Hope it works. lori
  10. by   BonnieSc
    I've never had a problem "enforcing" sunscreen use. You have to get the counselor staff on board. We invest in plenty of extra bottles of sunscreen--one in each group's first aid kit and others to borrow, with plenty at all program areas. It is really not an "enforcing" issue for us... more of a "reminder" issue. When the counselors are trained to remind kids to put on sunscreen regularly throughout the day, it becomes as easy--really easier!--as toothbrushing.
  11. by   firstaiddave907
    wow that sonds likea good plan in not a nurse at all but from what i read on your post it sounds great i would love to see the power point i will pm you my e mail address
  12. by   edgwow
    hi everyone,
    i was able to get this project to a link, just click it!
    camp is coming, everyone ordering supplies? don't forget the diaper wipes and the multi uses for a triangle bandage, like a clean thing when there is a bloody nose, a bleeding cut. they come sealed in their own little package.
    i graduate in 34 hours.
  13. by   30yearsofcampnursing
    Hi everyone,
    I was wondering if you had any ideas of a list that could be used as a toolbag for new camp nurses to bring with them to camp? I'd appreciate any help you could give me.