Many nurses find themselves in the position of giving a presentation to staff regarding health services and overall health care at camp. Ironically, many of the nurses are just coming to grips with camp themselves. At my camp, this is a lecture given in the hockey arena; other camps have entirely online orientation. However your camp does it, here are a few topics that I recommend you cover with your staff if the opportunity presents.
Is this an emergency? Be sure staff understand what is, and what is not an emergency. As a rule, non-emergencies should present at clinic at set times to minimize the disruption to staff activities, and allow for up-staffing during high traffic times. Emergencies can report to clinics at any time. The guru of camp nursing, Linda Erceg, coined the 6 B's of emergencies: Bleeding, Barfing, Bites, Bones, Burns, and Breathing problems. They should report to clinic at once! I add in pink crusty eyes, as suspected conjunctivitis should be quarantined immediately.
Stitches are not first aid! Make it very clear what first aid can staff provide, and where the line between first aid and health care is. The policy I enjoy is that the first band-aid is first aid, the second one is not. Our cabin staff are allowed to apply triple antibiotic and 1% hydrocortisone cream to minor cuts and bug bites, under the direction of the nurse. Make staff aware of where they can find first aid kits and what they can expect them to contain. Most first aid kits on camp should be of standard design.
Hydrate or die! An issue to stress very strongly is hydration. Staff should make sure that their campers have water bottles at all times, and are filling them at least once between meals. Staff must lead by example in this important activity. I explain to staff that heat stroke and exhaustion, for the most part, are 100% preventable with aggressive hydration. The military has been stomping around the middle east for a decade now, in full gear and pack, and prevents heat emergencies with hydration and rests. There is no reason why campers should suffer.
Smart people do it three times a day. Remind staff to get in the habit of applying sunscreen in the morning and after lunch, and then bug spray for evening activities. There is never a day so cloudy that the cabin staff and campers don't need sunscreen, and bugs do not take a night off. Prevention of sunburn is obviously important, but make sure that staff understand that bug bites are a super highway to skin infections.
In case of emergency. How do staff contact you in an emergency? Make sure that staff know numbers, radio frequency, or the appropriate smoke signals to get you to them in a hurry. If your camp sends out off camp trips, make sure you cover calling 911 and obtaining health care at other camps, as well as numbers to call to get a responsible adult to the situation. Also, cover your camps policy on staff communication with parents, be VERY clear on this topic.
Code Blue. Briefly cover the location of any AED's and EpiPens and instructions for their use. It's easy to spend lots of time on this topic, but remember that cardiac arrest and anaphylaxis are high acuity, but low frequency events. Also, these devices are designed for use by the lay public so a quick review is all that is necessary.
What if they get sick? If your staff is not permitted to use on camp health services, where can they go to see a doctor, or get first aid? If staff are allowed to use on camp health services, where and when can they access it. Where can staff store personal prescriptions and OTC meds?
Strangers in a strange land. If your staff is from overseas, make sure they are aware of local diseases, such as lyme disease. Advise them that healthcare in the USA is a fee for service and that they need to be knowledgeable of their travel insurance limits. Also mention that over the counter drugs are named differently here in the US, so they should be careful of they are buying their own OTC drugs. Foreign staff should also know who is a safe person to contact for help with...sensitive problems, such as buying contraceptives, STD screening, and emergency contraceptives. These services may be accessed differently in their country of origin, and they need to know who if anyone will help them navigate if these situations arise.
Always run your ideas or even your entire presentation past your camp director. Parts of your lecture may be covered in other parts of orientation. They may want to pad or emphasize some language to better fir the message and meaning of the camp organization. Also, ask for ideas on any topics you have missed or on how to make the presentation more engaging. Don t forget to have some fun, make them laugh, or, at least, don't put them to sleep.