Camp Health Research Initiatives
As camp healthcare providers we are among the masters of improvisation, those creative with a Band-Aid and marker, those who tolerate extremes of heat and cold. Yet sometimes there is a question, problem, or new program that begs to be studied in some depth. This is camp nursing research. Through this research, camp nurses utilize evidence (from the current literature) to guide their practice and make client care decisions. By incorporating research-informed practices, camp nurses can enrich their clinical experience and training.
Current and past studies on camp health provide the information needed to continue developing the profession of camp health. Collaboration between the Association of Camp Nursing, universities, funding agencies and industry partners is foundational to these evidence based research studies.
Active Research Projects
Camp Nursing Clinical Decision-Making
ACN Seed Grant: Hope Steger
Purpose: There are no standard protocols to guide camp nurses in deciding when to seek offsite medical intervention for non-emergency medical conditions adn it is unknown how camp nurses make these types of decisions. This explanatory sequential mixed methods study aims to gain information on when, where, and why camp nurses decide when to seek offsite medical intervention for non-emergency medical conditions, including how camp nurses 1) understand the ACN scope of practice standards; 2) incorporate ACA suggestions into a decision to seek offsite medical intervention for their non-emergent patients; and 3) negotiate challenges associated with seeking offsite medical intervention for non-emergent care. The results of this study will fill a significant gap in the literature on this area of nursing specialty and guide the development of interventions designed to improve decision-making processes by camp nurses.
Nurse Self Care
ACN Seed Grant: Tracy Martinek and Mary Tobin
Purpose: It can be assumed that camp nurses should be giving themselves as much care as they give their campers. Improper personal care may marginalize care of campers and staff. When camp nurses do not receive proper care it may also increase the risk of injury or worse yet lead to medical errors. According to the ANA Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation, common ways nurses fail to care for themselves is through a lack of sleep, improper diet, and less than adequate exercise. These self-care concepts must be studied however in diverse nurse practice settings to explore programmatic and practice differences. There is especially a gap in the literature with regards to how these self-care practices relate to the practice of camp nursing. The purpose of this study is to use a qualitative exploratory approach by using storytelling of camp nurse experiences in Iowa. The research will visit with camp nurses at residential camps and learn about the lived experience of the camp nurse and their self-care measures.
ACN is conducting an ongoing research project to better understand camp-related fatigue.
Phase 2 of the fatigue study is in progress. Watch for an online survey, as we value your participation!
Phase 1 of the project (spring of 2018) gathered information from focus groups of camp nurses and directors to better understand how fatigue is conceptualize and experienced in camp settings, as well as strategies for managing fatigue. See the link to the infographic with Fatigue Study to the left.
Concussions In the Camp Setting
In collaboration with the Association of Camp Nursing, concussion researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia conducted a survey study evaluating the practices of camp providers in managing concussion in the camp setting (August 2017.) Despite the frequency of head injury at summer camps, protocols for managing concussion in this setting is limited, and the variability of its management in this setting is unknown. By characterizing the patterns of management of summer camp providers, we hope to be able to design appropriate guidelines to aid the summer camp provider in managing pediatric concussion.
Based on this study, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Research Instutute presented a webinar on Concussion at Camp. The webinar was recorded, and is available as a member benefit. Log in, and click on “Webinars.”
Past Research Studies
ACN participated in an Anaphylaxis study in conjunction with Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Harvard University initiated in May 2016. Camp nurses provided feedback regarding anaphylaxis in the camp setting allowing us to better understand the implications of care and identify measures to address safety.
Pediatric News published the study findings, indicating that camp healthcare staff would benefit from more education about how to manage anaphylaxis in the camp setting.
Camp Health Study
The 5-year Healthy Camp Study (2006 – 2010) was conducted by the American Camp Association and ACN to better understand injury and illness rates and mechanisms among campers and staff to inform better health practices in camps. Learn more about this research at the links below:
- Healthy Camp Study Impact Report
- Injury and Illness Benchmarking and Prevention of Children and Staff Attending US Camps: Promising Practices and Policy Implications (Garst, Erceg, & Walton, 2013)
- An Injury and Illness Surveillance Program for Children and Staff: Improving the Safety of Youth Settings
- Healthy Camps: Initial Lessons on Illnesses and Injuries From a Longitudinal Study
- Policy Statement – Creating Healthy Camp Experiences
ACN Research Collaboration
ACN collaborates with individuals and organizations to explore topics relevant to the topic of camp health. Collaboration proposals that (a) support the mission of the ACN and (b) benefit the camp community are considered. To express interest in an ACN research collaboration, submit a proposal (1,000 words max) to the ACN research committee at firstname.lastname@example.org detailing the project’s purpose, theoretical background hypotheses/research questions, methods, budget, timeline, and plan for dissemination of research findings. Proposals are reviewed by ACN’s Research Committee and/or the Board, and the applicant is notified of acceptance or denial. To access the research collaboration guidelines and collaboration agreement click the link to the right.
ACN awards great research! Nominations accepted
Research Seed Grant
Interested in conducting research? Apply for a seed grant!