Staff and participants at a camp are kept healthy and safe during the duration of the camp by the practice of camp nursing. Camp nursing involves a broad range of responsibilities and is much like serving any other community, although camp nursing usually involves only the treatment of minor medical problems. Employment or contracting can fill camp nursing roles, but the position may also be voluntary.
Camp nursing takes place in a non-traditional setting, but the responsibility of providing quality health care remains the same. These responsibilities can include applying first aid for minor injuries, dispensation of medications, daily sick call, weekly health checks, communicating with the staff about specific camper health needs such as special diet requirements or allergies, medical record keeping, and communicating with local medical care facilities. Also, campers may bring their own medication from home for the camp nurse to administer. Campers are usually encouraged to take as much responsibility as possible for their own care during the duration of their camp stay.
The camp environment can encompass a variety of camps, such as summer-long camps for children, day camps, senior, year-round camps, special needs camps, specialized activity camps, and resident camps. Many camps are in a non-urban setting where emergency health care is not immediately available. One nurse may be overseeing the health of the entire camp community.
It is important for the camp nurse to be able to address not only basic health issues, but have a working knowledge of wilderness medicine. A number of unexpected problems needing medical attention can arise in the camping environment. Also, camp nursing may take place in a specialty camp, for example a fitness camp for obese children, where campers may have special health needs. Good health habits need to be encouraged within camp nursing in order for campers and staff members to have a safe stay.
If you want to start a career in camp nursing, you need a nursing degree. Consider an online LPN to BSN degree or an online RN to BSN degree if you’re already a nurse. Otherwise, compare these programs from the University of Phoenix:
» Online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
» Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)