Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Passion and profession collide for camp nurses

8/3/2018

By Meagan Ewton

If it takes a special kind of person to volunteer for camp, it must take a little something extra to volunteer for camp nurse.

Waking up early, caring for more than 100 patients, distributing medications, and being on call 24 hours a day may intimidate some, but Kia Platt says it’s not as scary as it sounds.

“Because it is a church camp setting, we get to be far more open with our faith than other areas of practice,” she said. “Faith is a common aspect of healing, but in a church camp setting, we can be much more direct with that aspect of our care.”

Platt, a registered nurse who worked in public schools for seven years, said her faith was impacted by a camp nurse when she attended Camp Egan as a kid. This was her first year to volunteer as a camp nurse, something she said she’s always wanted to do.

“Within the nursing setting… we have time and opportunity to listen and get to know people so we can really access that spiritual level of care,” Platt said.

Rochelle Caudill, who has volunteered as a camp nurse for several years, agrees that they offer more than physical care.

“As a camp nurse you are needed not only for your medical skills but also your observation skills as you work with the leaders to identify the campers who are not adjusting to camp life,” Caudill said. “For some of those campers, all they need is a cool place to rest for a while with someone who understands.”

Katelyn Trobaugh, a nursing student in western Oklahoma, said volunteering as a camp nurse is where her passions for nursing and church camp collide.

Her father, Rich Trobaugh, served on the Board of Camp and Retreat Ministries for several years before he passed away last June.

“OKUMC camps are kind of in my blood,” Trobaugh said. “Being a camp nurse is a dream that my dad and I started together when I was in high school, so it was really special for that dream to come true this summer.”

Caudill said volunteering as a camp nurse is an ideal opportunity for a medical professional who wants to do something special, loves the heat, enjoys children and wants to “give back.”

“It is my belief that I become the hands and feet of Christ as I administer to the medical needs of the children,” she said. “(The children) trust you, knowing you are there to help keep them safe and to help them if they get hurt.”

If a person does volunteer as a camp nurse, Trobaugh suggests they “bring superhero band-aids, because it instantly makes you cooler.”

Platt’s recommendation to potential volunteers?

“Do it. Absolutely.”

 

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