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Whats the worst that can happen?

Posted

Specializes in peds, maternity, pre and post op,. Has 16 years experience.

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

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*

Neveranurseagain, RN

Has 26 years experience.

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.

mustlovepoodles, RN

Specializes in OB/GYN, Peds, School Nurse, DD.

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.:eek: 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:eek: 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!

muffin7

Specializes in OR, HH.

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.:eek: 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:eek: 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?

mustlovepoodles, RN

Specializes in OB/GYN, Peds, School Nurse, DD.

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.

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

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.

wearingmanyhats, RN

Has 23 years experience.

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

melonbelly7

Specializes in peds, maternity, pre and post op,. Has 16 years experience.

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. :nurse:

muffin7

Specializes in OR, HH.

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." :clown::clown::clown:

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.:banghead::banghead::banghead:

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.

Edited by muffin7

wearingmanyhats, RN

Has 23 years experience.

If I was the "top" medical person there and felt 911 was warranted, I would NOT hesitate to grab my cell and dial...

belle87RN

Specializes in Emergency!.

I was a counselor in a the cabin right next to where one of the worst incidents that I've seen, happened. (I worked 3 summers at that camp now). The girls were chasing each other around and the one girl ran toward the door which had glass windows. Her hand and arm when straight through the window. She had several severe cuts to her arm, I think I remember finding out that she ended up with 30 plus staples in her arm! I was extremely grateful that none of my campers ended up with serious injuries.

I think,from my personal experence,that one of the most dangerous things that can happen,althoug rare,is snake bite.

Snake bite on a kid is extreemly bad,they do not have the body mass to absorb the venom(this is true with black widow bites as well)Also,there is the possibility of A.S.,which can kill a kid in mere minuets,I know,it happened to me and fortunatly,I was only up the street from the hospital(less than 10 min.)but was circling the drain when I arived with a BP of 35/60 and respitory distress,all because I had a reaction to a componet in the venom,the bite itself while painful,was not very serious at all,as Cotton Mouth bites go any way.I would have the following at camp:

1. A bite protocol,this will give detailed info to EMT and ER docs as to what to do,meds,poison control and other numbers and they are species specific,You can get one emailed or down loaded from http://www.venomousreptiles.org You will be suprissed how little they know in the ER about snake bite,unless the attending is Dr. Shun Bush.

2.Find out about the species of venomous snakes that will be in the area,get pictures and again,the bite protocols.http://www.venomous reptiles.org.

3.know the latest snake bite first aid,NOT cutting and sucking,NOT the use of ice and constriction bands,see the web site.

4.have an epi-pen on hand,as a nurse,you know what to do with that.O2 wouldnt hurt either to help calm a frightened child

5. know that you DO NOT need to kill the snake for identification,you only risk getting bit again.In north america,if you have symptoms of envenomation,there is one brand of Anti Venom that is being used,Cro Fab,and it covers all noth american pit viper envenomations,the ER should have this,again,this info is in the bite protocols

6.know that snake bites are rare,and deaths from them even more rare,but boys will be boys and even a baby rattle snake can do a world of hurt to an adult,much less a kid

7.remember,"time is tissue" so dont waste time getting the victem to proper,knowlagable(bite protocol) help

Any way,hope you have a wonderful time at camp:D

belle87RN

Specializes in Emergency!.

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. :nurse:

What camp did you work at? It sounds like a camp in NY that I go to called Word of Life. But I would imagine you would have seen a few fractures and sprains there given all the activities that they do.

I'm glad you enjoyed it!

I think what injuries you see depends on the camp you go to. I work at a action sports camp (Cheer, Gymnastics, Skateboarding, BMX, etc) so I saw some crazy stuff. Skull fractures, dislocated fingers, stitches, lots of broken ankles and arms. Thankfully they have very experienced sports trainers who deal with most of the injuries.

I think the scariest thing is the fact that it takes an ambulance a minimum of 45 minutes to get to the camp. Even Life Flight takes over 20 minutes just to get there.

Niamah

Specializes in OB, GYN, community nursing.

Nurses do love sharing these kind of stores, don't we! I worked for few years at a camp that had a large int'l pop (Global Youth Village) -- all teens, some sports but not a huge emphasis on this or adventure related activities, so most of what I saw was pretty minor - bug bites, colds, sore throats, homesickness, mild allergies... BUT there were definitely some wild days as well: ana rxns to bug bites, asthma problems, usually saw a case or two of malaria each summer, an occasional fracture; had one staff person fall while holding a glass - severed his artery in his wrist (ugh); had another staff member get distracted while using a commercial food processor in the kitchen and she cut off the top of one of her fingers... never know what will happen!

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