1st time Camp Nurse for Down Syndrome


Hi, I've been a nurse for 3 years now on an adult med-telemetry unit and I'm going to be a overnight camp nurse for a week for children with Down Syndrome. I will be the only medical professional at camp. Any tips on camp nursing; what to wear? be prepared for? useful phone apps? how to prepare for med pass? ect.? As well as any advice about what kinds of meds children might be on? Thanks!

ruby_jane, BSN, RN

3,142 Posts

Specializes in ICU/community health/school nursing. Has 14 years experience.

What to wear- where is camp? In north Texas, summer's awfully warm so I tend to forsake scrubs for cargo shorts with pockets. Koi actually sells capri scrubs (I own two pair) but cargo shorts are fine.

Be prepared for - anything, from evacuating a kid with a suspected neck injury to someone getting her period for the first time. You will have protocols. Review the emergency evacuation and fever/infectious disease protocols to know how and when you have to quarantine a kid.

Med pass - how many kids? How many med passes? Not sure if there are drugs that are frequently used with this population but if you can look those up. Make sure you have a way to assess which kid gets which med if the kid is non-verbal (some of the youth with Downs Syndrome are very verbal, some are not).

You might review any secondary conditions that come up with the syndrome. I think I remember there's a higher rate of hypothyroidism but I've slept since my pediatric nursing rotations.

You might want to review a pediatric nursing text for the developmental stages.

Good luck! The first day of check in may be rough, but you'll get into a rhythm. Don't let the campers or counselors hurry you in your five rights, though!

Specializes in School Nursing. Has 6 years experience.

I work with children who have Down Syndrome year round.

Some may be on medications to help with focus. Anything else would relate to additional diagnosis they might have.

Many of mine are nonverbal and use a device or sign language, so I'd be sure to have a picture pain chart and go over some basic sign. "What hurts?" "What sick?"

I've had a handful with hearing aides as well - so I suggest just review general guidelines for them.

I've had kids fed with g-tubes, some who eat P.O. no restrictions - basically what you'd see in a general pediatric population with the added developmental component.


14 Posts

Thank you for the advice!

Any tips on how to manage med pass for up to 60 campers? I think my entire meal will be spent handing out meds. Do the kids usually come to the nurse with the counselor, or will the nurse seek out each child?

I suspect each camp has its own practices for med pass, but the camp where I work has campers come to the Health Center before meals for meds. It is far too difficult to track down numerous campers in the dining hall, and presents problems with identification, privacy and timeliness. Also if you have meds prepared ahead (i.e. in pill cups) it becomes very easy to make mistakes. Occasionally there will be one or two that i go find, often if it's something like an antibiotic they are supposed to take after eating.