Travel Nurse “Dreams Big” at Very Special Summer Camp
With summer drawing to a close and new Wet Hot American Summer happening on Netflix, it’s totally understandable to be feeling wistful for the good ol’ summer camp experience.
Medical Solutions has had the summer camp bug since this spring, when we learned about Colorado’s Roundup River Ranch — the amazing work they do and the help from nurses they require to do it. We fell in love with this free camp for children suffering from serious diseases and decided to donate $10,000 to support the camp’s efforts and to help them recruit the nurses they needed for a successful summer 2015.
As a result, one lucky, hard-working Medical Solutions Traveler is living the summer camp dream in 2015 at Colorado’s Roundup River Ranch, which was originally the brainchild of actor Paul Newman. Adrienne C., BSN, RN, specializing in ER, has been an important part of the camp’s staff this summer. Her Career Consultant is Danielle A., who worked with the Roundup River Ranch and Medical Solutions teams to make this experience happen for Adrienne.
Who better to explain what an important, amazing experience this can be for nurses than Adrienne herself? Here’s her first dispatch from camp:
Adrienne’s Roundup River Ranch Camp Diary, Part 1
July 27, 2015
When I first heard about the opportunity to work at Roundup River Ranch I immediately thought of how amazing it would be … for me. A chance to get out of the hospital setting for a time, living it up in the beautiful Colorado summertime, and so on. This initial focus, although accurate, was far from the truth I should have realized. This is about a camp for kids with chronic or serious illnesses wanting to feel like children again and not defined or limited by their disease. My job consists of providing routine medical care, staffing the medical building, and having an active presence as a first responder in the more high risk areas. However it is what my job description doesn’t include that I will treasure most.
Never in my life have I worn so many crazy costumes as a normal part of my day! Even if it is simply a funny hat, if I bring one smile or giggle out of anyone I consider it a success. These campers have had more than their fair share of seriousness, and somber adults are the last thing they want at camp. Some have defied odds most thought were insurmountable, and one would never know by merely looking at them. This is why I cheer, dance, play, and encourage just like their counselors when I’m not needed in my nursing role. They have overcome great obstacles, and I honor that feat by giving every last ounce of energy in whatever form best serves them.
Before campers arrive for the first day there is a session where the medical team presents basic information to all staff about some of the diagnoses to be encountered and how best to support them. This is taken quite seriously, often with notes taken, as sometimes the counselors may notice something before anyone else. The nurse assigned to the cabin will go over each camper with their counselors regarding any specifics that may need to be watched for or considered. This includes procedures that may need to be done and when the best time would be to do them so that they do not miss out on activities. These counselors and all the support staff and volunteers deserve so many accolades for their efforts to make this a successful experience for every single child.
It has been incredible to see how efficiently the medical team operates and how the influence has been integrated. The kitchen staff diligently works to provide safe and delicious meals for everyone. It is adapted to the week so that for kidney week, every single person ate a renal diet. For liver and GI week coming up the entire camp will be gluten free. Every effort is made to normalize any special restrictions, and it is heartwarming to see how relieved some are when they don’t have to worry if something is safe to eat. All the activities around camp have modifications to boost the chances of all campers having the ability to try them. For example, the challenge course has a canvas seat that can hoist a camper to the top of the rock wall so that they can go down the zip line despite being in a wheelchair.
This is such a small glimpse into camp life, but let it be known that I am proud to be here and stand alongside such a phenomenal team. I hope that others have a chance of being a part of something so profound yet simple. This is camp, but for some it is an escape from the confinement of a disease, it is hope for a brighter future, it may even become their happiest memory. It may be all about the campers, but it absolutely makes my heart full to be here with them. And so, for selfish and not-so-selfish reasons I will seek more opportunities like this. There truly is nothing quite like it, and I will miss it once summer comes to an end. As is often said around here though, I’ll continue to dream big.
— Adrienne C.
Thanks so much for sharing your story, Adrienne. Sounds like a pretty unparalleled experience. Medical Solutions is excited about the relationship we’ve built with Roundup River Ranch and we hope to provide more support come summer 2016!