As a camp nurse, Kenya Samad shares what personally captured her / what made her return year after year to the camp where she currently works. While this article is directed at camps, it is a helpful read for anyone considering working at camp this summer as a nurse.
1- the opportunity for my daughter to accompany me. many nurses choose school nursing or part time nursing for the convenience of the schedule for their children. most of my fellow school nurses are looking for summer opportunities but definitely need their children to be able to accompany them. if you are open to having the nurse’s children accompany them, please mention this in the job listing. it is oftentimes uncomfortable to have to ask this question immediately when speaking to the camp and yet it is often the most important detail regarding whether or not we can entertain the job at all.
2- breaks. we all know that camp nursing has long hours, and most of us are 100% okay with that! but we also work long hours at home and relish the idea of being able to have a bit of down time at the lake, in the woods, in the sunshine, etc. please let your nurses know realistically what their schedule will be like, and please factor in down time for them. i have had a camp job that worked me HARD from 6:30am until 11:30pm, and i had to practically beg to have a moment to myself. needless to say, i did not return.
3- involve them in camp life. i cannot stress this enough! a part of working for camp is BEING at CAMP! we enjoy the campfires and bunk shows, we love to receive friendship bracelets and bandanas! if you have departmental tshirts, please include your infirmary staff! we want to be acknowledged at the flag pole and we want to rock tie-dyed shirts, too! we want to bring home something that we made in ceramics and we love the feel of cool lake water and laughing with the kids in the cafeteria. let your nurses know that they are welcome to participate in camp life and encouraged to be an often-seen, warm, friendly face on campus. this means a LOT when we are regarded as more than just “the help in the infirmary.” the camp that i am currently working for gave me the opportunity to go to the arts and crafts building whenever i wanted to and encouraged me to perform in the lip-sync battle. it was awesome, and not only did i tie-dye all of my camp staff shirts, i now sleep on tie-dyed sheets every night and wear tie-dyed socks with my scrubs!
4- salary… be generous if you can. some nurses will absolutely take on camp jobs for the experience and fun, but some of us actually need to supplement our income. please know that a competitive package can be essential.
5- accommodations. as a part of the 40+ camp folks, i have to say that a comfy bed and personal shower is so wonderful! some camps have accommodations at the health center (convenient, especially when your nurses have to wake up in the middle of the night to attend to a camper) and some have nearby housing, but please know that after being on their feet and taking care of campers / staff all day, many nurses love the idea of being able to step away from it into a comfy, cozy, space of their own.
Kenya Samad, Camp Nurse
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