GW Nursing Students Go to Camp

February 14, 2017

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Through a partnership with Camp Dogwood in Madison, Virginia, BSN students dive right in to life as nurses, helping some two dozen children deal with tummy aches, asthma, homesickness, and taking their medication while away at camp.

“It’s wonderful experience for the students,” said Dr. Karen Dawn, an assistant clinical professor at GW SON. “In a hospital they might only give medication to one patient. Here, they’re seeing the campers every morning,” she said.

Camp Dogwood, run by the AnBryce Foundation, provides educational opportunities for children and young adults who otherwise cannot participate in camping and other enrichment experiences.

Each morning, BSN students prepare a quick lesson for the campers, teaching them to stay well-hydrated during the hot summer months and how to look for ticks after hikes.

GW Nursing faculty members structure the students’ time at camp similarly to what they will encounter in professional settings. Each student takes a turn at being charge nurse for a day and handing out assignments. They also take turns being on call to tend to campers who have health issues overnight.

Working under the close guidance of faculty members — different professors each spend a week at camp with different groups of students over the course of the summer — students take their responsibilities seriously.

“We have to be extra cautious giving out medications because we don’t have electronic health records,” said Allen Bigornia, a Cohort 10 BSN student.

One morning, the students missed breakfast because each was dealing with different issues; one camper had a hip injury, one skinned a knee, and one was vomiting.

“They’re really practicing being nurses,” Dr. Dawn said.


Visit our Facebook page for more photos from Camp Dogwood!