Camp Doctor FAQs
Every camp is unique. Camp lengths vary from 1 – 7 weeks and generally accept campers aged 6 and up. There are specialized camps to fit the needs and wishes of every family. It is important to choose a camp whose mission and energy is in line with what you wish to get out of your camp experience to ensure that it’s a great fit for you and your family.
Use this FAQ to ask questions of any camp you wish to work with.
About Camp Doctoring
How is a Camp Health Center Staffed?
The core of camp Health Center staff is generally a team of nurses who work at camp for the full summer. Physicians usually staff camps for 1 – 2 weeks at a time. There may also be EMTs, nursing students and/or a health center administrator.
What are the general responsibilities of a camp doctor?
Camp doctoring is generally composed of the following roles:
- Sick Call: Most camps have Sick Call twice a day. They generally occur after breakfast, after lunch, or after dinner. The number of kids seen by the doctor at a camp will depend upon the nursing staff and the camps protocols. Sick Calls can take a couple of hours and will be the majority of the camp doctor’s work.
- General Duties: The camp doctor serves as a 24/7 back up for any emergency at the camp. If a child gets hurt during non-Sick Call hours, the camp doctor may be called to check them out. This is generally after a nurse has seen and triaged the child.
How often to do you get woken up in the middle of the night?
This depends on the camp. On average, camp doctors receive 1-2 calls a week which may require you to come to the Health Center and examine a camper or counselor.
How often do you send kids to the off of camp or to the hospital?
Camp is a low-resource setting and you will frequently send children off camp for imaging or consultation. Some camps will allow physicians to place sutures or staples and others will send children to a local urgent care or ED. You will always have the support of your camp director if you choose to send a child off camp for imaging or consultation.
What specialties are best suited for camp doctoring?
Emergency medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, and family practice provide the best basis for camp doctoring.
Can I work in a state that I don’t have a medical license?
States administer temporary medical licenses for physicians working for a short period of time. Your camp should assist you in obtaining this temporary license.
How is a camp doctor insured?
Camp doctors are covered under the camp’s general liability insurance. You should speak to your camp about any specific insurance questions you might have.
About Being at Camp
What will I do when I am not at the health center?
You can usually walk around the camp, watch activities, and use the camp facilities. Examples include playing tennis or using the lakefront.
Can I watch my kids’ activities?
Yes. You can usually see some of your children’s activities but it is very important not to disturb their camp experience.
Do I need to be on camp the entire time?
Most camps require there to be a doctor on site at all times. If the camp has more than one doctor, you can usually leave camp.
What kind of accommodations will I have?
Most doctors stay in staff quarters. Usually, the rooms have air conditioning and a private bathroom. You may have a TV or a small kitchenette.
What is the compensation?
Most camps will offer a tuition credit for your child to attend their camp. Compensation varies in valuation from $2500 – $5500 per week of service.
The Bottom Line
Attending camp is a fantastic experience. It can be busy and you will work hard, but camp is fun— even for staff. It may not be a total vacation, but it will certainly be more playful than your day job. Seeing children through one of the happiest experiences of their lives— experiences that they will cherish forever— is incredibly rewarding.