Hot tips for new Camp Nurses!

I recently chatted with a nurse who is getting ready for her first summer of camp nursing. She was pretty excited but, understandably, nervous. She was looking for some advice. I was delighted to give help.

How can you ensure you won’t leave AWOL in the middle of the night? Well…here are some hot tips to help you make your camp nurse experience successful!


Hot tips!

1. Take a first aid class and practice the techniques! Seems simple, but, a lot of what you will be doing is basic first aid. It’s nice to be able to send a kid off to the ER with a splint that you can be proud of.

2. Pack comfortable clothing with good coverage. Leave your Daisy Dukes at home, ladies. This is not the time or place for that. You want clothing that allows you to hunker down without falling out…I know you know what I’m talkin’ about!
No go

3. Good shoes. Again, you need to be sensible here. Leave the Louboutin’s at home. Teva’s, running shoes, flip flops will work. Just make sure you can run in them (without breaking your neck) if you need to.

4. Leave your sexy lingerie at home! You never know at what time, day or night, that duty may call on you. Don’t be caught looking like a Victoria’s Secret angel. It just sends the wrong message to campers, college age counselors and the staff.
Looks dorky but it’s useful!

5. Do. Not. Bring. Candy. For the campers anyway! Bring all the “peanut free” candy that you want for yourself (and keep it under lock and key). Guaranteed to backfire on you if you give candy to 
the camper…and “cough drops” count as candy here! Like ravenous little raccoons they will pester you and distract you from your real focus. If you want the campers to be your friends just be your charming self and/or bring a joke book!

6. A flashlight is super handy for night shift. A headlamp is even better for activities that require your hands free for, say CPR. Just kidding!

7. Pockets are helpful. Never a bad idea to store a little ziplock bag of band aids, hand sanitizer or wipes in one of your pockets. They could save you a hike to the nearest first aid kit.

8. If you have the opportunity…go to the bathroom. Every. Single. Time.
9. Nice smelling liquid hand soaps are a lovely treat!
10. No internet service? Bring a Merck Manual. I used it a LOT! Bring a Medication guide too. Super helpful when you can’t remember if Lamictal is for toe fungus or seizures. This little book was also helpful. 
11. Leave your judgmental attitude at home. You will learn lessons from those you may least expect.

12. Magazines/book with a book mark are nice when you have a few minutes of downtime. But if you are planning on reading “Fifty Shades of Grey” be sure to wrap it in a book cover!

13. Embrace the concept of social safety. As nurses we are familiar with the concept of attending a male doctor while performing a PAP smear. It’s kinda the same idea. Always have another staff in a room withyou when the door needs to be closed. This concept also promotes the side hug.
14. Magnifying glasses are uber helpful. Hands free ones are the best. You can usually find them at craft stores. 

Uh oh…

15. Have some salt on hand in the health office. It’s great for salt water gargles for sore throats (most commonly caused by too much yelling/screeching) and for salt water foot soaks for those open wounds on the feet that are starting to look a little sketchy. 

16. Master the bathing suit scooch. Ladies? You will thank me. Check out this post.

17. Bring your senses! Your sense of wonder and sense of humor. Camp nursing will be the hardest job you will ever love!

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