recent ankle fracture camper staying at camp

Specialties Camp


  • by lynswim
    Specializes in OR, Education.

We had a camper fracture her ankle at camp - went to the local hospital and had an ORIF on Sat. Today (Sun)she is back at camp (mom, camper, and directors want her here). She has crutches and a walker - is to have no weight bearing on the repaired ankle. The nurses (2 of us for a camp community of 300+) are expected to drive her to the activities she can participate in, to meals, etc. etc. She is now living in the infirmary and watching videos in the front part of the infirmary. The other nurse I am working with has experienced a situation like this before; I think this is asking way too much of the camp nurses - part of the reason I come to camp is to enjoy camp!!

What are some thoughts on this?? Has anyone run into a situation like this before? Thanks!


12 yrs. experience camp nurse

Jolie, BSN

6,375 Posts

Specializes in Maternal - Child Health.

My thoughts on this have very little to do with camp nursing, and a lot to do with the mother and camp director.

First of all, it is a shame that the child's camp experience was marred by a serious injury. Secondly, I think it is nuts to take a child out of the hospital after recent general anesthesia, likely in pain, requiring wound and cast care and send her back to camp (probably in a remote location) where she can participate only in very limited activities and where there are no accomodations for her special safety, mobility, showering, activity and other needs.

Watching videos is exactly what she shold be doing from the comfort of her own living room couch, with her leg propped up on pillows, friends coming to visit and sign her cast, and parents in attendance. Watching videos in the camp infirmary is hardly providing her with the social and outdoor learning intended at camp.

I suspect you are babysitting her because her parents have other (more interesting and pressing) plans this week and the director fears loss of tuition revenue, as well as a lawsuit. You (and this child) have my sympathies.


88 Posts

Specializes in OR, Education.

thanks for the validation :)


At my camp, we have LOTS of fractures--have had 4 before lunchtime (Extreme Sports Camp ( But it never up to ME to transport campers around--we have other staff do that with a golfcart. When they leave infirmary, they are someone else's responsiblilty--she really shouldn't need an RN with her. I give instructions to the counselor---elevate, and send with an ice bag and make sure they are medicationed before they leave and tell counselor how long she they can be gone.

Specializes in ortho, flu shot clinics, call center.

This makes my blood boil! Shame on that mother and the director. I will be a camp nurse in July for the first time for a 3 week session, and if this happens to me I will be beside myself. That's poor child's parents clearly can't be bothered. If it were my child, I would WANT them home so I could nurture them, an ORIF is not a skinned knee. I truly feel for you.


26 Posts

That would make me boil! At our camp, we keep campers with fractures if the camp director, the nurse or other person in charge of first aid, our doctor, the camper's parents and the camper feel it's in their best interest to stay at camp. We had 3 fractures at camp this summer and all of them stayed at camp. They only stayed in the infirmary when their cabin was away on camping trips and would otherwise come for medication, ice and shower time (we have a bath which was essential). I was against having one of them with a severe tibial fracture stay but she was a fighter, her cabin was awesome and were ready to do anything to keep her and our doctor finaly decided he would buy us a wheelchair so that her cabin could help her get around on longer "trips". It turned out great and we cannot wait to have that cabin back next year. It was a great bonding experience for them and a great preparation for their 7 days hiking trip coming up this summer.

We did have two seniors stay in the infirmary for LONG periods of time (up to two weeks), one during each of our sessions following hiking injuries. Both our doctor and myself were against it. They stayed in the infirmary at night but we did get them to join other groups/help out around camp. There was no way they were staying inside all day watching TV. We actually don't have TVs at camp so they spent their time in the infirmary reading :)

Specializes in NICU, PICU, educator.

She had an OPEN reduction and is back at camp???? Can I just tell you I had an open reduction internal fixation of my ankle and there was no way I wanted to be anywhere but home after that! All I can say is ....WOW

Liddle Noodnik

3,789 Posts

Specializes in Alzheimer's, Geriatrics, Chem. Dep..

and can we say infection control issue?

Definitely an **O*** RIF should be sent home! BOOOOOOOOOO!


34 Posts

Specializes in Labor & Delivery, Maternity, Pediatrics.

Yikes! I would likely send them home. I'm no babysitter. If I have a camper spending more than a day with me, I think they need to go home. I had a camper with a fractured wrist last year who stayed and only spent one day in the health house but that was because she was in the ER all night and needed to rest. Her family was 6hrs away. I also had a camper with a sprained ankle last summer who I ended up sending home (I let her try it out for a few days and she decided to leave). Crutches and camp just don't work out well!

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