Camp Nurse

What Does a Camp Nurse Do?

Camp nurses provide health care and medical expertise to people of all ages attending camps and retreats. Their settings could range from a summer long camp of boy scouts in the forest, to a group of terminally ill cancer patients during a weekend retreat at a hotel. Because the campers could include youths and adults, chronically ill or perfectly healthy, camp nurses should possess a wide range of medical knowledge and skills. From treating poison ivy and mosquito bites to broken bones and camp fire burns, the list of conditions they could possibly be faced with is endless. Typical duties can include: orientating staff, making sure each adult is able to effectively spot potential medical problems with campers and are aware of possible camping hazards; establishing a health center, from stocking first aid supplies to ensuring all equipment is functional and clean; and managing communicable diseases, having a plan of action should a case of chicken pox or the flu breakout during a camping session.

How Can I Become a Camp Nurse?

Camp nurses are generally registered nurses, but in some cases can be licensed practical nurses. To become a licensed practical nurse, a candidate should complete an 18-24 month training course that includes classes in anatomy, physiology, medications and patient care and successfully pass a national licensing exam. Registered nurses must earn either a two or four year degree in nursing and also pass a national licensing exam. Currently there is no separate certification for being a camp nurse, but it is recommended that those interested in working as a camp nurse be trained and knowledgeable in CPR and first aid. The Association of Camp Nurses is a professional organization dedicated to the advocacy and education of camp nurses. They provide great resources and information for nurses that are interested in working in the camp environment, as well as those nurses that already practice the discipline. From newsletters and continued education opportunities to workshops and symposiums, this organization is dedicated to promoting camp nursing.

What Is the Career and Salary Outlook for a Camp Nurse?

Nursing is one of the fastest growing industries in the United State and this includes camp nursing. According to the Association of Camp Nurses, over five million children attended a camp in some form last summer alone. Many of those children did not have access to a camp nurse. This indicates that there is a serious need for nursing professionals at these camps which is a positive employment sign for recent nursing graduates or those interested in a career change into camp nursing. Also according to the association, camp nurses can earn less than other registered nurses in clinical settings, but can be compensated in other ways. Camp nurses are often provided with free room and board during their stay with a camp. If the camp is located in an interesting or beautiful setting, this could be seen as a mini-vacation for nursing professionals.