Thursday, May 19, 2016

Summer camp nursing can be a win-win experience for nurses with disabilities!

Did you attend Girl or Boy Scout, YWCA, YMCA or a religion affiliated camp? Did you ever work or consider working as a camp nurse?

If you are a nurse with a disability, why not explore camp nursing possibilities?

Audrey Demmitt, RN shares the benefits she gained from the experience. 

Several years ago, Audrey was a camp nurse for the Georgia Lions Camp for the Blind. She recounts, "I was struggling with my own vision loss at the time, but still working as a school nurse. I spent seven weeks caring for campers of all ages from preschoolers to seniors. It was an inspiring and empowering experience not only for the campers, but for me as well."

                                                                     Audrey Demmitt, RN
"I learned so much from observing the campers and playing alongside them. They had such exuberance and eagerness to try new things like climbing the rock wall and horseback riding. One six year old boy who was totally blind since birth conquered the climbing wall while his mother and camp staff looked on through misty eyes. When he reached the top and rang the bell, he was giddy with accomplishment and exclaimed "Look at me! I'm so high up!"

"Well, I came away with a new "can do" attitude after watching campers conquer new tasks. I learned to try to do things in a new way. I enjoyed being part of the visually impaired community, realizing I was one of them for the first time, which helped me accept my disability. I came away empowered to learn new skills to live with my blindness. Somehow, the kids instilled in me a new-found courage to move forward by watching their fearless approach to activities."

"I learned to play again and have fun in bubbles, water and mud. I played beep ball (adapted baseball for the blind) and loved it. I learned at the talent show that we ALL have talents. We celebrated and shared our unique talents and abilities, while our disabilities faded into the background. I was truly inspired by campers' attitudes and accomplishments as well as the staff's dedication to serve this population. My time at the Lions camp rivals my summer camp experience as a child. It was most memorable and life-changing."

Working as a summer camp nurse can help nurses with disabilities gain new experiences, maintain nursing skills, have fun and even learn coping/compensatory skills from the campers. 

Why not give it a try? There are specialty camps for a wide range of campers with different disabilities. 

Please share your thoughts and experiences as well as any camps looking for an "exceptional" camp nurse.

With thanks!

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