Butterfly Sparks Designs

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Camp Nurse

Every summer, come May and rising temperatures, I don a different Nursing cap: a Camp Nurse cap.

I walk into the wilds of a large and busy summer camp which serves nearly 900 people each week.  The summer camp where I work houses a health center which weekly employees four nurses to staff it and take care of campers and camp staff alike.

We do four times per day medication calls for all the kiddos on scheduled medications.  We do sick visits throughout the day for anyone who might come down with a sore throat, stomach ache, or flu-like virus.  We are emergency responders for things like lake accidents, water slide injuries, ropes course mishaps, etc.  We do much more, too: like lice checks, launder soiled bed linens for campers, allergy shots, manage diabetic campers, and cure homesickness with our secret weapon- Pop-Ice.

It is a wonderful change from the walls of the hospital and adult medicine.  Working within an outdoor setting at the camp, with smiling kiddos, always renews my heart for nursing.

We also work very hard.  Our health center opens at 6:00a.m. and stays open until midnight.  After a full week of long hours, we nurses always go home dead tired but very full in our hearts from all the people we have served and met throughout the week.

By day 3, you begin to remember the individual kids as they come through the "Med. Call" line for their morning medications.  You begin to build rapport with them and are able to encourage them in their day, love on them a little, and always, always- laugh.

For a nurse, camp nursing is a challenge.  With no doctor in the immediate vicinity, and the potential for absolutely ANYTHING to walk in the door- good assessment skills become a must.  I've seen everything at camp from snake bites, to a raccoon attack, to orthodontic mishaps requiring minor oral surgery on the premises, to a swine flu outbreak that resulted in Camp Quarantine 2009. 

There is never a dull moment in camp nursing.

Last week at camp, we nurses made up a little Med. Call song with a guitar to sing as a diddy for the campers and counselors.  The words went a little something like this:

"It's the crack of dawn,
as you start your day;
you've gotta get your meds,
so, you'll be on your way...."

Then we nurses went into a little coordinated rock and sway routine with our Pop-Ice, band aids, and stethoscopes that would rival the Rockettes any day.  In fact, we aptly named ourselves for the musical number, "The Nightingales," as a homage to Florence.

Being a nurse is always an adventure, and being a nurse at a camp is a very special and unique adventure.  If you've never tried it, you're a nurse, and you might be interested, Go for it! 

Nothing will brighten your day more than a wet, swimsuited camper, coming into the health center with their towel dragging behind them, ready for a day of fun in the sun, who just might need a boost from a smiling, caring nurse.  Nurses have a special gift of comfort and care, and it's awesome getting to impart that to the little campers who come through our doors.

So, nurses- what are you waiting for?  If you'd like to learn more about Camp Nursing, visit the Association of Camp Nurses's website at http://www.acn.org/.

Happy Summer, friends!

No comments:

Post a Comment