Whats the worst that can happen?

  1. Ive been a nurse for more than 15 years. Im an army vet, volunteer firefighter/emt and have 3 wild small boys of my own. When the chance to work at a summer camp came up this year I thought it was a great idea. well as opening day gets closer, the butterflies start and im questioning everthing I know. I do have a background in adult emergency med and do really well with kids too.
    ive comprised a list of what I think ill need for supplies(lists on here have been a great help) ive read all I can on state regulations on a health lodge for a camp. I havnt had any advise from the camp director but will be soon meeting with her and i have a long list of questions.
    So here is my question whats the worst that can happen, I dont know anyone that has done this and Im just not sure what to expect. I know ill see incect bites and skinned needs broken bones and poisin ivy. I do know that most of our kids come with a parent or a familiar adult in there groops and that helps me know them and their needs. so tell all good and bad so I can be mentaly ready for all that comes my way camping at a cub scout resident camp for almost 2 months in the summer. thanks
  2. Visit melonbelly7 profile page

    About melonbelly7

    Joined: May '09; Posts: 4
    agency nurse
    Specialty: 16 year(s) of experience in peds, maternity, pre and post op,

    21 Comments

  3. by   teeniebert
    Camp nursing tends to be 'feast or famine'. There will be days you'll swear the clock has slowed down ("still 2 hours until evening meds? ok, I guess I'll read the policy manual AGAIN!") and days when you have 3 or 4 critical situations happening at the same time. There was one day when a camper dislocated her knee jumping from the dock into the lake, another camper fell off the ropes course and had to be held still until paramedics arrived, and while I was on the phone with a parent about one of the above incidents, I was told over the walkie-talkie that I had to get off the phone because one of the horses was down and possibly needed to be euthanized (the horse was fine by the time the vet arrived). Then there was the night a staff member had a severe asthma attack during the bedtime med pass and we had to haul all the meds to the dining hall so the kids wouldn't get freaked out when their counselor was wheeled out on a stretcher with O2 on. Yeesh. Those days are few and far between but they took a lot out of me. And you'll have a few accident prone campers that are in every day for some bump, bruise, or sprain. Hopefully you won't also have the younger sibling who decides that, since big sister got to see Mom when she went to ER for x-rays, he should run around in the dark on purpose to sprain his own ankle.
    *all of the campers mentioned had positive outcomes except the last; he couldn't manage to hurt himself accidentally-on-purpose and was surly about it*
  4. by   Neveranurseagain
    It depends on what type of camp you work at. At a general camp I had a kid fall 30 FEET off the ropes course, bounce on a thick layer or wood chips and was fine (but I still sent him by ambulance to hospital), a kid vaulted over a railing while being chased by other campers and forgot there was a 20 foot drop (she also was ok), 4 kids go into anaphlaysis (all at once!)from exposure to peanut butter, and a kid that passed a kidney stone on a 8 mile wilderness overnight hike. Then another camp I've worked at is an Extreme Sports camp featuring skateboarding, BMX, downhill mtn biking, inline skateing and Olympic level gymnastics and usually fly a kid out every 3-4 weeks on a helicopter.
  5. by   mustlovepoodles
    I'm not a camp nurse, but I'm a school nurse who has chaperoned many, many middle school groups on tours. You'd be surprised what can happen. The majority of my day is fixing boo-boos, runny noses, tummy aches and passing ADHD meds. I have the occasional asthma attack, head injury, sprain or fracture, and injuries from fights(usually boys, but I have had a few girls beat the snot out of each other.)

    I think the worst health problems I ever had were 1) a child with an anaphylactic reaction to the HORSE she was riding and no EMS available. 2) the kid who broke her nose in teh pool when she swam into another kid's outstretched ankle. It looked like a hog-killing in the pool and 3) the time *I* had an anaphylactic reaction in the airport while our tour was waiting to board. They thought I was gonna die (me too!) and by the time the EMTs got there I couldn't tell them who I was or where I lived or what I took. Very scary!
  6. by   muffin7
    Quote from mustlovepoodles
    I'm not a camp nurse, but I'm a school nurse who has chaperoned many, many middle school groups on tours. You'd be surprised what can happen. The majority of my day is fixing boo-boos, runny noses, tummy aches and passing ADHD meds. I have the occasional asthma attack, head injury, sprain or fracture, and injuries from fights(usually boys, but I have had a few girls beat the snot out of each other.)

    I think the worst health problems I ever had were 1) a child with an anaphylactic reaction to the HORSE she was riding and no EMS available. 2) the kid who broke her nose in teh pool when she swam into another kid's outstretched ankle. It looked like a hog-killing in the pool and 3) the time *I* had an anaphylactic reaction in the airport while our tour was waiting to board. They thought I was gonna die (me too!) and by the time the EMTs got there I couldn't tell them who I was or where I lived or what I took. Very scary!

    Just curious, why couldn't you tell them who you were? Were you unable to breath and that was why?
  7. by   mustlovepoodles
    Quote from muffin7
    Just curious, why couldn't you tell them who you were? Were you unable to breath and that was why?
    I was delerious. Fortunately my best friend was also on the tour and was able to fill in the blanks for EMS. I can remember the EMTs taking my BP and asking me questions and being unable to form the responses correctly. I kept telling them I had taken Benedryl--I guess I was trying to pull out my nurse mode, but everything felt screwed up.
  8. by   CampSchoolNurse
    I think it really depends on the day
    One Day I had a girl Colapse while a counselor was taking her up the stairs complaining she was a little woosy
    Fell down the stairs Hit her head
    She has a nice cocunsion, fractured her foot etc.
    That was a day I'll never remember
    I've also had a girl fall off a horse from being dehydrated and hit her head that was another fun one
    I guess I work at a Girl Scout camp where safety if first priority so I don't have many good ones but I have had my moments
  9. by   Joemed8a
    I am a paramedic that has served as the "camp nurse" for about ten years at several different youth camp each summer.

    I seem to see about one serious case per camp, sometimes more and all sorts of minor things each day that sometimes can be more difficult to figure out than the serious stuff.

    We have had a cardiac arrest, serious head injury, compartment syndrome, a lower leg DVT, impaled arrow in an arm, and other interesting things that warrant a trip to the ED. We see many minor fractures and dislocations, lacerations, allergic reactions are common, skin rashes, N/V/D, asthma and always a few frequent flyers.

    It's always a good time and I seem to add a few more things to my supplies each year but keep it to two totes.
  10. by   wearingmanyhats
    I have been the LPN at our school disctrict's 6th grade camp for 3 yrs (it is a 3 week gig... each group stays 2 nights... I am there Mon-Fri)

    I have had a kid who's forms mentioned NOTHING about asthma have an attack (thank GOD we have standing orders) -- called Mom, got permission to give the PRN neb tx

    I have had to send a principal to the ER for a broken ankle (he tripped doing bed rounds after lights out)

    the rest were the usual belly aches (assume dehydration/heat/homesick first)
    give water, and soda crackers... 10 minutes or so.... you will probably see a miraculous recovery LOL
  11. by   melonbelly7
    well I did it.. I bravely went were i had never been before draging my 3 children with me and a little tired in the end I made it. The majority of my days were not exciting I did survie the worst weather we ever had in summer in ny. some mornings were actuly 48 degrees. Ive delt with more bug bites and skinned knees, no fractures, no extreme emergencys a few elevated temps and foot blisters. One guy passed out after swim testing but he was ok in the long run just put my check in procedures way behind. thanks to everyone who offered advice and support i will gladly do this again.
  12. by   canadiangradschoolrn
    Im glad you enjoyed it.
  13. by   muffin7
    Quote from scrappingfaye
    I have been the LPN at our school disctrict's 6th grade camp for 3 yrs (it is a 3 week gig... each group stays 2 nights... I am there Mon-Fri)

    I have had a kid who's forms mentioned NOTHING about asthma have an attack (thank GOD we have standing orders) -- called Mom, got permission to give the PRN neb tx

    I have had to send a principal to the ER for a broken ankle (he tripped doing bed rounds after lights out)

    the rest were the usual belly aches (assume dehydration/heat/homesick first)
    give water, and soda crackers... 10 minutes or so.... you will probably see a miraculous recovery LOL

    One of my 17 year old campers medical form forgot to mention that she had both auditory and visual hallucinations. What a joy that was. One night she was sent via ambulance to the ER (severe dehydration, she was unresponsive), when she returned the next AM she told me that she and her Mom had decided that she did not need to take her ADHD meds anymore. The two counselors (that accompanied her to the ER) neglected to hand her meds back over to me when they returned(I ended up finding them in the camp office), but of course I needed to confirm this with her Mom. So I called her Mom who said that there was never any kind of discussion about her daughter discontinuing her meds. So the Camper out and out lied to me!!!

    Does anyone know if a "camp" loses accreditation if their campers have two many ER visits? I had several other situations where I felt the camper should have gone to the ER and the Director said "no."

    Also, can a Camp Director take medical advice (over the phone) as to whether a camper should be taken to the ER???????????? Well mine did, it was the craziest thing.

    The thing of it was was that this camp was not cheap. In fact it was pretty expensive. I would have thought that they would not hesitate to go to the ER if I thought the camper needed to go. Which was one of the reasons I chose to apply there.
    Last edit by muffin7 on Aug 24, '09
  14. by   wearingmanyhats
    If I was the "top" medical person there and felt 911 was warranted, I would NOT hesitate to grab my cell and dial...

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