Published May 18, 2004
Hi, I signed up to do a six week stint at a New Image Weight Loss camp. Has anyone worked at one of these camps before, and if so, what was your experience like? Also, do you have any recommendations for a first time "camp nurse"?
Thank you so much.
Have not worked at a weight loss camp, but this will be my third summer as a camp nurse. You will have meds to give, bumps, bruises and scrapes, belly aches, head aches, homesickness etc. You might have hungar pains, as well at that camp! I have worked at Boy Scout Camp and Large YMCA camp my first year. Last year I worked at a special needs camp and will return there again this year. Have you checked out the offical website for camp nursing at http://www.campnurse.org They have some info on there as well as some camp nurse books you can purchase. Weight loss camp sounds good, a healthy enviroment, Have Fun!
Well, thanks for the info. It seems that at least I will not be bored this summer. I took a ride there today to check it out, it's around 100 miles from my home. At least it's not out in the boondocks somewhere. There is a Wallmart and Walgreens about 5 miles from camp ! Just in case!!! Anyway, I leave on June 13th and will post a thread when I return from my first camp experience to share with others in case they want to work a summer there.Take care all & have a wonderful, restful, refreshing summer.
Wondering how your experience went at New Image camp. Last summer, I did camp nursing at Camp Shane in New York. It was the worst job I've ever had in my life. Will never go there again. Went home so sick and stressed, I was on antibiotics (in the middle of summer!) and my hair was thinning terribly (in the middle of summer!). Think I just slept for the first week home.
Hope your experience was better!
Wondering how your experience went at New Image camp. Last summer, I did camp nursing at Camp Shane in New York. It was the worst job I've ever had in my life. Will never go there again. Went home so sick and stressed, I was on antibiotics (in the middle of summer!) and my hair was thinning terribly (in the middle of summer!). Think I just slept for the first week home.Hope your experience was better!Cat
My daughter went to Camp Shane from August 1-5 of 2005. I was so disappointed with them. Would you be interested in telling me why it was your worst job?
Stressed out mom!
Wow! This takes me back! I attended Camp Shane back in the summer of '78 as a 14 year old camper for 7 weeks. Though expensive, Mom shipped me off to get me out of her hair because Dad had just died that spring and she was a basketcase. I was sooooo out of place there. I was one of 5 people (2 campers and 3 counselors) that would escape every Saturday evening and go into town to go to the Catholic church service. I've never been so lonely. I just didn't fit in.
My only trip to the camp nurse was because I had a wad of contraband chewing gum stuck in my hair.
I did lose 15 lbs!
Oh my goodness, I can soooo relate to your story. I worked this summer at an all girls camp in Maine called Camp Arcadia. I will never, ever do that again. It was by far the worst job I ever had in my life. My orientaion was nonexistant, my cabin was filled with creppy crawlers, it took two weeks for me to get hot water to my cabin. The owners being of the old school kept on calling it "the infirmary". Even the above complaints were not the worst. The worst was that we never got time off even though we were promised. I say we because there was one 1st year nsg student, an LVN and me. The LVN lasted about 2 weeks, and then left (can't say I blame her). I was then the only nurse 24/7. As far as sleeping and eating goes, I did very little of both. Their was no time. When I asked her for more help because my brain was literally shutting down and my critcal thinking was being thrown out the window. She said to me (and I not lying-her exact words) "Who's going to pay for it." At that point if I didn't have my girls off on camping trips, and I wasn't 3000 miles from home, I would have left. Speaking of pay, see if you can figure this out. The LVN lived 4 miles down the road. She was to get $275.00 for travel expenses. I lived 3000 miles away. I received $700.00. I gave a 2 week notice due to the fact that it was the worst job (I honestly can't come up with the words to describe my feelings towords that place). There was a university in Maine that sent over one of their 4th year nsg students who must have agreed with my thoughts on the place because they didn't let her finish out the week there, and stated that they will no longer place their students at this camp. I found out from the 1st year nsg student that they were paying the nurses (there was 4 after I left) a $100/day. The owner of the camp tried to pay less, but they didn't agree to it. They also said that they didn't want to be the only one 24/7-thus 4 nurses. The owner would have saved herself a lot of money had she just hired another nurse when I asked for help. As I was leaving the camp for good the owner said to me I need to talk to you. I thought she wants to thank me for giving notice and not leaving her stranded like the other nurses before me (this has happened a lot I found out later). She proceed to acusse me of rumors that I started with the counselors. I told her when would I have the time to do that. I was in my clinic all of the d### time. Plus, I'm in my thirties. Even if I did have time to sit down and chat with the counselors, I have absolutely nothing in common, nor can I relate to people in their teens (which most of them were). Her mind was made up, and I wasn't going to waste anymore of my energy on this camp or her in trying to change it. The last thing that she told me was do camp owners a favor, the next time you sign up for a job make sure you finish out your contract. I told her please do her future nurses a favor and don't expect a nurse do work 24/7. By this time, she was yelling about something, but I turned around and walked away. The last thing was after 4 long-distance phone calls and 5 weeks later, I received my final check. It came out to about $1.47/hr. This was the most expensive job I ever took. I payed good money to be absolutely miserable. I believe that being a camp nurse could be a fun job, but now I now what needs to be in a contract.
It's too bad you had this experience. Unfortunately, too many of the camp nurses around here seem to have been unhappy... some of what you describe is typical--working/being on call 24/7, being the only nurse, the low pay. That you had no orientation and that the administrators were rude to you is terrible.
I think getting a good orientation--preferably beginning before the start of camp, via phone calls or in-person training--is the number one thing that can make a summer at camp a good one. Future camp nurses, INSIST on this orientation! You may find that the camp doesn't have solid policies and procedures set up--but at least you will know this ahead of time. If that's the case, appreciate the freedom you have in being able to set things up the way you want them. So even if you don't get a good orientation on health center policies--because they don't exist, or they've been fluid--make sure you get an orientation into the structure, policies, and culture of the camp. Then you can set up a system that works for the camp.
Cat,My daughter went to Camp Shane from August 1-5 of 2005. I was so disappointed with them. Would you be interested in telling me why it was your worst job?Stressed out mom!
Sorry you and your daughter found out about Camp Shane from experience (like I did!)
This was my first camp nurse job, so I didn't know what to look for. I was told I would be paired with an older nurse who had a lot of camp nursing experience. Turns out this older nurse had done some volunteer work at other camps but hadn't really done 'nursing'. No med passing, etc. She didn't know how to organize meds, organize the office, etc. So it was up to me.
We truly needed twice the employees we had there. Even though we tried to 'close' the Health Center periodically, when a truly sick camper came to the front door, I couldn't just turn her away. So we ended up working round the clock. I woke up one night to find a camper standing next to my bed, staring at me! I was so exhausted, I had not heard the bell.
Also, there are a lot of campers there with psychiatric issues. I've never seen so many kids on multiple psychotropics. Some of those meds caused the weight gain they were struggling with. We were not equipped to handle many, many of those campers. There were a few guidance counselors available but they were on overload, just as the health center was.
The medication passing was a disaster. We had to take boxes of meds to each age-group area, along with water and cups. (Not enough water sources at that camp, either.) The cabin counselors weren't much help in rounding up the campers. Occasionally a camper would just skip coming to get his meds, or he would put them in his pocket to take 'later' with meals. We didn't have time or staff to stand and watch each camper take his medication. That was a disaster waiting to happen.
Finally, I gave 2 weeks' notice and left. As I said in my earlier post, I was exhausted and sick when I got home. Slept for a week. Wish I could spread the word on Camp Shane, but would probably get in legal trouble.
I recommend looking on epinions.com for reviews of this camp and others. There are a few rave reviews which the camp owner probably had his office staff send in. The real reviews are by the ticked-off parents and campers who wasted their money and time at Camp Shane.
What was your daughter's experience there?
This is why I love this websight. I have seen the websites for both of these camps and both look pretty good. Thank goodness for these posts. I am so sorry to hear about your experiences at CAmp Shane and Camp Arcadia. I was just offered a job at Arcadia...thank God I didn't take it. What a nightmare. It seems to me that unless you know someone personally, finding a good camp to work at is the luck of the draw. I've heard Camp Cedar in Maine is good---I checked them out and they have a head nurse who seems great.
The hard part about checking out websites is most of them are geared towards getting counselors and you can't really get a sense of what your day is like. I'm sure they don't say too much about the health centers on the websites because they don't want prospective parents to think they have a lot of illnesses. But it sure would help us in picking a camp, wouldn't it? A few photos and a little more info isn't asking for too much, is it?
Glad you read this, Marybeth.
I have also heard a good rumor about Camp Cedar. Also, Concordia Language Villages in Minnesota is good. I was going to work there this summer, but had to go to work full time and can't get away. One of the founding nurses of the American Camp Nurse Association (or something like that) is the head of nursing at Concordia. They have a good orientation and have been in business a long time.
Good luck. Whichever camp you attend, let us know how it turns out!
Just remember, regarding camp websites, that camps are hiring from dozens to hundreds of counselors... and sometimes only one nurse.
Don't forget to look at Girl Scout camps, too!
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