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Nurses Help Make Boy Scout Centennial Jamboree ‘Safest Ever’

On the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America, buses brought thousands of Boy Scouts to camp at Fort A.P. Hill, Va., for the 2010 National Boy Scout Jamboree. Thousands of adult volunteers spent the previous week preparing for their arrival, and among the volunteers, for the first time in Jamboree history, was an official staff of nurses.

New Jersey’s Michael A. Irizarry, RN, BSN, was assigned as the Northeast region’s chief nurse along with four other regional chief nurses. Leading them was Kathy Burns, RN, chief nurse, who oversaw care delivery to the entire Boy Scout population, numbering more than 50,000 scouts. With the adult support staff and daily visitors, the jamboree population was nearly double that amount.

The jamboree was divided into geographic regions, each overseen by an assistant chief nurse. In addition, there was an assistant chief nurse to oversee the visitor’s center, aquatics and arena events. Each region oversaw five subcamps. Each subcamp housed four to five Boy Scout Troops, with 40 scouts and a few leaders in each troop.

“I have a wonderful staff of nurses,” Burns said. “Each one was not afraid to jump in to lend a hand doing whatever was needed.”

The primary role of the nurses was to serve as liaisons between the subcamp clinics, Boy Scouts of America and the U.S. Army, which served as the jamboree host. Each day, the nurses made rounds in their respective zones, as nursing supervisors often do in a hospital setting. They facilitated and assisted the nursing staff in obtaining supplies, medications and communication devices. The nurses were from all across the U.S. to augment more than 23 clinics strategically placed around the jamboree area.

The nurses presented in-services to assigned medical and nursing personnel with Wi-Fi laptops and electronic medical records. They also provided hands-on first aid to the Boy Scouts.

At the subcamp level, charge nurses were responsible for daily staffing, inventory control and tending to injured scouts and staff members. Many scouts presented with blisters, sprains and heat effects from the hot weather. Nurses also gave some tender loving care to the occasional scout who suffered from a bout of homesickness. Nursing personnel provided 24-hour care during the entire jamboree.

Nurses also were instrumental in teaching scouts how to perform self-care and how to provide first aid to others. The team also took part in a Guinness World Records attempt for the most CPR training conducted at one site in a 12-hour period. As of publication, the status of the record still is unknown.

Daily activities at the subcamp clinic level were similar to the ED with several individuals being treated with quality care regardless of their status as scout participant, adult volunteer or guest.

During two major events, hundreds of nursing personnel were strategically placed around the arena and nurses assisted in triage and care of scouts, with occasional nosebleeds and asthma complications. Because of the nurses, the jamboree was cited by Chief Scout Executive Robert Mazzuca as the “safest jamboree ever.”

By | 2019-11-22T10:28:40-05:00 September 13th, 2010|Categories: New York/New Jersey Metro, Regional|0 Comments

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Michael Irizarry, MSN, RN, is a nursing professor at Jersey College School of Nursing in Ewing, N.J.

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