Summer camps are bustling with activities, from kayaking on serene lakes to evening bonfires under the stars. However, with all the fun and adventure comes the inevitable scrapes, allergies, and the occasional bout of homesickness. That's where a summer camp nurse steps in, serving as a lynchpin for a safe and healthy camp experience. Here's a guide to recruiting the best nurse for your summer camp, ensuring every camper and staff member has a go-to for their healthcare needs.
1. Understand the Role
Before you start your search, be clear about what the role of a nurse at your camp entails. They are not just healthcare providers but also educators, comforters, and sometimes even confidantes for campers and staff. They will need to handle everything from medication management and first aid to supporting campers with chronic conditions.
2. Identify the Qualifications
Ensure you know the necessary qualifications and credentials for a camp nurse. Typically, they should be a registered nurse (RN) or a licensed practical nurse (LPN). Some camps may require or prefer additional certifications such as Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) or Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS).
3. Create a Compelling Job Description
Your job description should not only list the qualifications and responsibilities but also the unique benefits and joys of working at your camp. Emphasize the opportunity to work in a dynamic environment, the satisfaction of nurturing children, and the chance to be part of a close-knit community.
4. Leverage Your Networks
Word of mouth is a powerful tool. Reach out to nursing schools, medical associations, and use your personal and professional networks. Nurses who have previously worked in camps can also be excellent resources for referrals.
5. Use Targeted Job Boards and Social Media
General job boards may be useful, but consider posting on healthcare-specific job sites such as the American Camp Association, the Association of Camp Nurses, or even nursing forums and LinkedIn groups. Social media can also be an effective way to reach potential candidates.
6. Highlight the Perks
While the salary needs to be competitive, other perks can attract candidates. Highlight the beauty of the camp environment, the chance to interact with nature, free room and board, and the opportunity for their family to visit or stay at the camp.
7. Conduct Thorough Interviews
Interviews are crucial in assessing not only the candidate's qualifications and experience but also their fit for the camp environment. Ask about their experience with children, how they handle emergencies, and what they love about nursing. Their responses will give insight into their suitability for the role.
8. Offer a Realistic Job Preview
Consider offering candidates a chance to visit the camp and shadow the current nurse if possible. This hands-on experience can be invaluable in helping them understand the unique challenges and rewards of the job.
9. Check References Thoroughly
References from previous employers, especially from other camps or pediatric settings, can provide reassurance about a candidate's abilities and demeanor.
10. Prepare for the Unexpected
Always have a backup plan. Whether it's having a list of per diem nurses who can step in or training other staff in basic healthcare procedures, preparation is key to dealing with unexpected staff changes.
11. Continuous Support and Development
Offering continuous professional development opportunities and support for your camp nurse is crucial. It not only keeps them up to date with best practices but also helps them feel valued and invested in.
Recruiting a nurse for a summer camp is a nuanced process that calls for attention to both the clinical skills necessary and the unique personal qualities that fit the camp atmosphere. By following these strategies, you'll be well-equipped to find a nurse who not only can handle the healthcare challenges of a summer camp but also contribute to the magic of the camp experience for every child.