How to Become a Camp Nurse

Updated on January 26, 2024

With summer just around the corner, many camps are gearing up and looking to fill nursing positions. Becoming a camp nurse can be a fun and rewarding way to spend your summer while helping care for kids. However, there are some important steps you need to take if you want to pursue this career path. First, you’ll need the proper nursing credentials like an RN or LPN license. Additionally, you’ll want experience working with children as the camp environment tends to be fast-paced. Furthermore, skills like emergency response training, enthusiasm, and flexibility are vital. With the right credentials and experience, you’ll be prepared to handle the adventures and minor injuries of camp while enjoying sunshine and fresh air.

Understanding Holistic Nursing

Holistic nursing focuses on caring for the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. As a camp nurse, it is important to understand this whole-person approach. Some key principles of holistic nursing include:

Taking a holistic view of camper health allows nurses to provide more personalized and complete care. Focusing on the interconnectedness of body, mind, and spirit can improve outcomes and help children thrive during their camp experience.

Educational Requirements and Pathways

Holistic nursing focuses on caring for the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. As a camp nurse, it is important to understand this whole-person approach. Some key principles of holistic nursing include:

Having a holistic mindset allows camp nurses to support camper health more completely. This comprehensive approach is especially vital when caring for children and teens in the camp environment away from home.

Specialized Training and Certification requirements

Becoming a camp nurse requires specific training and certifications beyond standard nursing qualifications. At a minimum, aspiring camp nurses need an active RN license as well as CPR and first aid training. Some key certifications camp nurses often obtain include:

Nurses can get certified through independent study courses or hands-on classes. Some camps provide or require orientation and specialized training for their location. Review details at the American Camp Association website before applying.

Licensing and Certification

To legally work as a camp nurse, you must hold an active registered nurse (RN) license. Each state has its own requirements and process for obtaining licensure, which typically involves graduating from an accredited nursing program, passing the NCLEX-RN exam, and completing continuing education courses annually. For example, see California’s RN licensure requirements.

In addition to an RN license, the following certifications may be preferred or required:

Maintaining proper licensure and credentials allows camp nurses to provide comprehensive care to campers and staff in often remote settings.

Skills and Competencies

To be an effective camp nurse, you need strong clinical skills as well as some specialized abilities. Some key competencies for this role include:

Camp nursing draws on various areas of nursing expertise. By developing the specialized skills for this role, along with passion for working with children, you can prepare for a rewarding career as a camp nurse. For more details, check out this camp nurse guide.

Career Opportunities and Employment Settings

There are various career opportunities and employment settings for camp nurses. As a camp nurse, you may work at summer camps, sports camps, adventure camps, and more. Some of the top employers of camp nurses include:

In addition to traditional camp settings, camp nurses may also find job opportunities at specialty camps focused on specific activities like music, arts, sports, academics, and outdoor adventure. The ability to work in various camp environments makes becoming a camp nurse a versatile career path with options to suit different interests and skill sets.

Salary Expectations for Camp Nurses

Camp nursing can be a rewarding career both intrinsically and financially. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for all registered nurses in the United States was $75,330 as of 2021. However, salaries for camp nurses can vary depending on factors like:

According to a 2021 report by, the average camp nurse salary ranges from $35,000 to $65,000 annually. Pay can be higher for nurses who take on additional leadership roles at camps.

Some examples of typical camp nurse salaries are:

Job TitleAverage Salary Range
Overnight Camp Nurse$45,000 – $55,000
Day Camp Nurse$38,000 – $50,000
Camp Health Director$50,000 – $65,000

In addition to competitive pay, many camp nursing jobs come with room and board included, allowing nurses to save on living expenses during camp seasons. The ability to spend summers in scenic natural settings is also a valuable perk for many camp nurses.

With strong demand for skilled nurses at camps, combined with intangible lifestyle benefits, working as a camp nurse can be both fulfilling and financially-rewarding for nurses looking for alternative career paths.

Continued Professional Development

As a camp nurse, it is important to continuously develop your professional skills and knowledge. Here are some tips for continued professional development:

Making continuing education a priority allows camp nurses to provide the best possible care for campers and staff.

Challenges and Rewards

Becoming a camp nurse comes with unique challenges and rewards. Some of the main challenges include:

However, the job also provides many rewards such as:

With passion for children’s health and ability to thrive in demanding settings, camp nurses find great fulfillment in this unique specialty (source).


Becoming a camp nurse can be a rewarding career path for nurses who enjoy working with children and being outdoors. By obtaining the proper nursing credentials, getting experience working with pediatric populations, and highlighting relevant skills on your resume, you can make yourself an attractive candidate for open camp nurse positions.

As the conclusion shows, the road to becoming a camp nurse requires dedication but offers great benefits. The ability to monitor and care for children’s health while spending ample time outdoors makes for enjoyable work duties. With strong interpersonal abilities, medical knowledge, and passion for camp life, nurses can find success in this unique nursing specialty.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is a Camp Nurse?

A camp nurse is a registered nurse who provides health care for children and staff at a camp. Their responsibilities include administering medication, treating minor injuries, responding to emergencies, and educating campers and staff about health and safety.

What Qualifications Do I Need to Become a Camp Nurse?

You need to be a registered nurse (RN) with an active license. Additional certifications like CPR/AED, Wilderness First Aid, and Pediatric First Aid are also important. Experience working with children is highly beneficial.

What Skills are Essential for a Camp Nurse?

Emergency care skills, pediatric care expertise, health education capabilities, and the ability to work independently and adapt to changing conditions are essential skills for a camp nurse.

What are the Responsibilities of a Camp Nurse?

Camp nurses handle medical emergencies, treat minor injuries and illnesses, administer medication, educate campers and staff about health and safety, and often work on-call overnight.

Where Can I Work as a Camp Nurse?

Camp nurses work in a variety of camp settings, including summer camps, sports camps, adventure camps, church camps, and specialized camps focused on specific activities like music, arts, or sports.

What is the Average Salary for a Camp Nurse?

The average camp nurse salary ranges from $35,000 to $65,000 annually, but it can vary depending on factors such as geographic location, type of camp, and years of nursing experience.

What are the Challenges of Being a Camp Nurse?

Challenges include working long hours, dealing with resource limitations due to remote camp locations, and being prepared to handle a wide variety of medical issues.

What are the Rewards of Being a Camp Nurse?

Rewards include seeing the direct impact of your care on kids’ health and camp experiences, spending the summer outdoors, and developing relationships with campers over repeat summer visits.

What Professional Development Opportunities are Available for Camp Nurses?

Camp nurses can attend conferences and workshops, read relevant publications, obtain specialty certifications, and seek mentorship from senior camp nurses for professional development.

Are There Any Resources Available for Aspiring Camp Nurses?

Yes, the American Camp Association and provide a wealth of information about camp nursing qualifications, responsibilities, and job openings. Publications like the Journal of School Nursing also offer insights into the role of nurses in camp settings.

Additional Resources

If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a camp nurse, here are some helpful resources:

Check out those resources to deepen your knowledge and get guidance on achieving your goal of serving as a nurse for a summer camp, recreational program, or outdoor facility.