“Travel Nursing is a blessing and I do my best to live in the moment and enjoy each unique experience.” True to her ideal, last summer Adrienne Chamberland, RN accepted a special assignment from her employer, Medical Solutions, to care for “chronically and sometimes critically ill” children at the Roundup River Ranch in Gypsum, Colorado. Instead of working at a city hospital ER she had the chance to work at a children’s camp in the Northeast Colorado countryside. “At first glance you wouldn’t notice anything was wrong with the kids,” she said. “After spending time with them you realize all they’ve been through and it’s amazing that some of them survived at all. The camp experience provides children with opportunities to be with others like them and know they’re not alone because other kids have serious health issues too. Aware of that reality kids have fun instead of worrying about their diagnoses.”
About the Camp
On site are six cabins that accommodate one nurse and 12 children aged 7 to 17. A second nurse may be assigned according to children’s illnesses and levels of disability. “Peritoneal dialysis is done in campers’ cabins so they don’t have to spend the night away from their cabins,” Chamberland said. “This is important for kids because it enables them to feel like everyone else.”
Generally nurses monitor children’s health conditions to assure they have routine medications andother necessary medical procedures during their stay. “The goal is to integrate their normal routines into their camp experience without taking them out of activities,” Chamberland explained. Prior to the start of each week- long stays the goal of medical and nursing professionals is to review children’s health information to insure they’re healthy enough to enjoy the camp experience. Pertinent information about major illnesses is shared with counselors, and every camper is assessed for any potentially communicable diseases like rashes, flu, cold like symptoms and lice. “We ensure the children have enough medications and medical supplies on-hand and talk with parents about special routines that would help to make the experience a positive one,” she said.
Trained as first responders should emergent situations occur, nurses make sure treatments that are done at home are completed at camp. Procedures take place at a medical building known as “The Depot” and may include bowel programs, urinary catherization, tube feedings, infusions, and complex dressing changes. “An interesting procedure for children with cystic fibrosis involves wearing a Respiratory Secretions Vest,” Chamberland said. “Worn for about ten minutes the vest vibrates to loosen chest excretions to make breathing easier and to prevent respiratory illnesses.” The Depot is equipped with examination rooms and those with hospital beds to accommodate children who may require overnight care.
Children’s Camp Nurse Insights
As an ER nurse Chamberland agreed she didn’t have a lot of exposure caring for children with chronicillnesses prior to her camp experience. “Emergency room care is focused on immediate problems and not routine care,” she said. “While at camp I learned how to communicate more effectively with children and have more confidence dealing with similar cases and situations outside the camp. I treasure memories of this place and can’t wait to get back there,” she said. The camp experience has made me a better nurse and a better person.”
Travel Nursing Kudos
“I’ve discovered I love my travel life and enjoy visiting different cities where I have been assigned,” Chamberland said. “Although my hometown is Marion Kansas, most of my travel assignments have been focused in Wichita, Kansas. Travel nursing presents many opportunities to learn how things are done in other places, and a way to find out more about medical and nursing procedures and interventions,” Chamberland pointed out. ”It’s also provided me with opportunities to see family and friends who live across the country.” She expressed interest in different types of activities by attending local cultural festivals and visiting historical sites. “I’ve also taken in various museums and classical musical events. Exploring different parts of a city is a nice pastime as each one provides a different perspective and personality.” Chamberland suggested quizzing nursing colleagues and friendly neighbors to learn more about activities happening around the city, finding out where they’re located and what they have to offer.
Words of Wisdom
“Nursing is a challenging endeavor and a constant learning process,” said Chamberland, currentlyassigned at St. Luke’s Hospital in Dallas, Texas. “This career requires a positive attitude, a willingness to be flexible and the intent to do everything required of you with a smile on your face; a simple smile that may be all it takes to change someone’s outlook. I’ve only been traveling seven months and I know being of service to others is where I thrive most. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”