MDA Summer Camp: Medications, Marshmallows and Memories


Kate Skeldon, an executive assistant at Chamberlain College of Nursing, checked out the MDA Summer Camp in Ingleside, Ill., where eight Chamberlain nursing students were completing pediatric clinical rotations. Her reflections below:

I recently visited the Chicago camp on the first and last full days of the camp. I would like to start off saying it was an incredible experience. The compassion, the spirit and the happiness of everyone (campers, nurses, counselors) at the camp was uplifting and eye-opening.

The camp grounds are beautiful with large, air-conditioned buildings for the campers to bunk and play in, and acres of open land. The Chamberlain students and instructor arrived on Saturday, the campers on Sunday. Sunday night the instructor and students stayed up until 3 am to sort, organize and label medications for each camper for the whole week. It was a long night, but when I arrived at 8 am, the students were in surprisingly good spirits. They then distributed meds in the morning, during lunchtime and at nighttime. During most mealtimes, Chamberlain’s nursing students were distributing, mixing and smashing pills. They also did nightly rounds at midnight and 3 am to turn campers who needed it. The nurse on the MDA staff told me that usually there are only two nurses that do this, so our students were of great help.

Each camper was assigned their own counselor. It was great to see the counselors helping and playing with the campers and amazing to watch the connections between them. They were understanding, observant and have much patience with the campers. The first day that I arrived, campers were swimming, making flags for their cabins and building gingerbread cabins.

In the midst of all the fun, our student nurses were there to give medicine, including injections or nebulizer treatments; fix scrapes and bruises; tend to blisters on feet and bug bites; administer first aid; treat constipation; help with suntan lotion in eyes; rush to the bedsides of those who were sick and vomiting; and comfort those who were upset or hurt. The MDA team really treated Chamberlain as their own. It was a true sense of community.

The last day of camp, the nursing students helped check campers out, and assembled the meds for return and said their goodbyes. One of the students, who has children herself, said this experience really opened her eyes and she will hug her kids harder and not take anything for granted. All in all, the Chamberlain student nurses said it was a wonderful experience. It touched each one of them where it counts— in their hearts.

“I was so blessed to have been a part of this experience. Building relationships with the kids in such a small amount of time was priceless. Every bit of this experience was worth it.” – Chamberlain student nurse Tiffany Evans

Read more about Chamberlain College of Nursing students at MDA Camp.

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