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Staff medications


I would like to hear from other camp nurses how they handle staff medications. I had a lot of staff last year that were keeping their own meds, despite our requirement to turn them in. I have read on the camp assoc site where we should be keeping track of what they are taking and when. I wonder about this since these are basically adults that I am dealing with.


Specializes in Looking for a career in NICU.

I'm curious as to why an adult can't keep track of their own meds. Is it because children might get ahold of them? If that is the case, then I agree.

However, if that isn't the reason for the policy, they are adults, and camp is like any other job....adults should be able to maintain this level of privacy and administer their own meds...just like any other job.


Specializes in School, Camp, Hospice, Critical Care.

Our policy is that staff meds are kept in a locked cabinet in the health center office to ensure that they don't accidentally fall into the hands of children--no campers are permitted in the area where this cabinet is located. Staff may come for meds AC & HS (same times as campers) and we unlock the cabinet for them, but we do not administer their meds, don't maintain MARs on them, don't supervise while they're being taken, etc.

Staff *seems* compliant with keeping their meds in the HC in that we have had no incidents of meds faling into kids' hands and no complaints of staff having seen other staff with meds in cabins, etc. Usual exceptions for rescue inhalers and epi pens.


Specializes in Looking for a career in NICU.

Then that makes sense...so obviously the staff doesn't have to worry about their privacy...you would think they would comply to protect the children.

Since camp counselors are often older adolescents, with the according emotional maturity, I would say that some don't really believe the nurse / administration when it's explained that medications must be locked up to protect the children... they think "Oh, I'll keep it with me, there won't be any problem". Some of them are embarrassed to turn in their medication, though I found that when I delayed collecting staff meds for a few days into staff training--after they'd gotten more comfortable and realized no one was going to care that they take birth control!--this reaction was lessened. I know some of the staff keep their medications--after all, I used to be a counselor and I know what went on then--but I believe that most turn them in. I open the medicine cabinet for staff people at ANY time, though most come at campers' med times for convenience. It's the best I can do for their autonomy.

I don't know about any ACA standard that says we have to keep track of what meds the staff are taking and when--only that "all" drugs are supposed to be locked. (There's some controversy regarding counselors under age 18--whether we have to have more control over their medication. I don't, because we treat them like adults in every other way. Our youngest at 17-year-old high school graduates.)

I DO look at the medications and make a note of any "controlled substances", like Ritalin or Xanax, because I think it's important to know what drugs are in the health center--and also because I don't want to be accused of diverting them.


Specializes in PICU.

i work @ a camp for people with physical and devlpomental disabilites and the nurses pass TONS of meds everyday. us (staff) can not keep ANY meds w/ us b/c campers may get ahold of them. so we have a locker in the health services center that is locked or we can put our meds into envlopes and have the nurses give them to us when they do campers. w/ everying going on @ camp, it helps a lot for the nurses to just give me the envlope.

Counselors at the camp where I've worked are required to keep their meds in a locked cabinet in the medical hut. They present whenever they please and we give them their entire med drawer. It's up to them to take whatever they're supposed to take. The meds are kept safely and they maintain some degree of privacy.

At the camp where I worked as a counselor last summer, the medical center had a cabinet with a large basket where all of the counselors meds were kept. Each counselor had a paper bag with their name on it and all their meds were kept inside it. It was a bit of a hassle to rummage through a pile of 20 or so identical bags every time i needed my aleves, so i wouldn't recommend this system.

The cabinet was located behind the nurse's desk in the front room (treatment room) and was locked whenever the nurse was not at her desk. Staff could come whenever they wanted to get their meds, but most chose to come when their kids got their meds, just because the timing worked out better.

I would recommend making it as easy as possible for your counselors to get to their meds, as they have to put someone else in charge of their group so they can come for meds. The quicker they can get done with meds, the quicker they can return to their kids.

vampiregirl, BSN, RN

Specializes in Hospice. Has 11 years experience.

Another advantage to a camp nurse keeping the counselor's meds is that if an emergency occurs, the nurse and any other emergency personnel would have access to this information.

Thanks for all of the replies. It has given me something to think about for sure.




Specializes in Case Managemnt, Utilization Review.

Staff were allowed to keep only epipens or inhalers and were required to use a fanny pack if they had one, all other meds were locked in nurses office that they could access as they please. I also did allow 1 medication dose to be dispensed for taking at a later time in a labeled envelope, ie:allegy pill or motrin for cramps, sice they wanted to eat with it.


Specializes in Spinal Cord injuries, Emergency+EMS.

Another advantage to a camp nurse keeping the counselor's meds is that if an emergency occurs, the nurse and any other emergency personnel would have access to this information.

key information should be i nthe staffmember's personal or occ health file ...

the only reason i can think of for such a policy is concern that staff accomodation is not secure enough for them to keep their own meds...

I am an ARNP with many years of experience. Working with kids means that they are unpredictable. Best idea is to keep the kids safe at all times which means staff checks in their meds in the office but can come in and take them by themselves in the office at med times. This may not seem convienent to them but then, "camp is for the campers", not the staff really. Also, staff understand when you explain that it would not be great to explain to a parent how their kid got sick from access to your antidepressants ect...most staff working with kids get this.

Additionally, staff have problems too. I always have staff and kids parents fill out health questionaires so that if they get sick I can be aware of what is going on. I had 2 staff members get stung by bees this last year and get throat swelling reaction. They got an epipen injection from me a quick physical assessment and a trip to urgent care for prednisone IV. Nuf said? Soo...err on the side of caution. You are legally responsible to know who has what when so be sure to keep all the meds safe--staff members too. You don't have to dole it, they can check it off the list, but it stays out of campers curious hands. K?

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