The Journal of Christian Nursing (JCN) recently published this free article on the topic of Camp Nursing. It is not only a wonderful resource for any nurse considering the role of camp nurse as summer approaches, but it is also a beautiful picture of the holistic care that camp nurses bring to both attendees and camp staff alike. When I stepped into the role of volunteer camp nurse for the first time with Royal Family Kids Camp back in 2019, I wish I’d had this article to help prepare me – mentally, physically, logistically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.
I thought I would just be tending to bruises with ice packs and scrapes with band-aids for a week. Little did I know how much preparation went into organizing all the kids’ medications and health issues, planning logistics of safe med administration, assessing kids (and staff) for unexpected complaints and needs, and applying critical thinking and spiritual discernment to deeper heart issues that were manifesting as physical ailments.
JCN graciously included my blog post reflection about my week-long experience as a camp nurse for kids in the foster system as a sidebar to their article. It was a transformative experience for me to step outside of my usual PICU home and engage with these kids in a more “normal” environment where they were not critically ill and tethered to monitors and machines. I encountered their joy – and their heartache – in ways that are so different from how those manifest in the PICU environment. I found that the role of nurse automatically earned me a certain, immediate kind of trust with these kids, and I did not take that trust lightly.
Camp nursing is an incredible opportunity to apply our nursing skills and heart in a very unique context. I encourage you to check out JCN’s article and consider opportunities to step into this role in your local context this summer.