Meet Amy: National Nurses Week

How did you first get into nursing?
I was always intrigued by anything in the medical field, and I knew that I always wanted a career where I could help people. I always loved being around babies and kids growing up. Originally, I wanted to be a midwife but once I started nursing school rotations it was very clear that my passion lay in Pediatrics. I grew up with an older sister with Down Syndrome, which I think has contributed to my ability to see children with medical conditions as just kids first. 

What was the process of becoming a Nurse Practitioner, and what does that entail? 
I first got my Bachelor of Science in Nursing from University of Arizona, and then went to UCLA for my Master’s Degree as a Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. My Masters degree was another 2.5 years of education post my Bachelor’s degree.

How has camp impacted your career in nursing? 
My nursing career has always included caring for children with multiple complex conditions (particularly transplants), and I honestly prefer it that way! They are special kids and I have always felt that it is a privilege for their families to let me be a part of their child’s medical journey. However, these children and their families have hard days and seasons. Whether as a nurse or NP, I have witnessed those hard days and they can wear on one’s heart. Camp has allowed me to continue to see kids as kids first, instead of them being defined by their diagnosis. I get to see families feel relief and respite, knowing their child will be safely cared for at camp. That fuels me every day. We don’t have patients at Roundup, we have campers. My job is to make sure their medical needs are met, so their only priority is experiencing the magic and joy of childhood. This month marks my 10th anniversary as a Pediatric NP and my 15th year as a nurse, all in Pediatrics!

Tell me a little bit about your RRR journey.
My first experience at a Medical Camp was in 2011 at Painted Turtle, another SeriousFun Children’s Network camp in California. The first week I volunteered I got so hooked that I ended up coming back for 3 more weeks that summer! And then I always volunteered for many summers after, eventually becoming the Assistant Nursing Director there and then worked at Roundup in 2018 as the Nursing Director! I found myself back at Roundup last summer and have since become the Nursing & Medical Operations Director! I am so excited for campers to be back on site soon.

Do you have any standout memories throughout your time here? 
I think the moments at camp that are most meaningful for me really do lie in the small and simple things. Kids realizing their cabinmate also has the same diagnosis or medical device as them is so powerful. You see their whole demeanor and confidence change knowing they are not alone. I love seeing families having quality time together during our Family Camps and seeing their kid(s) just be a kid(s). Many times families, parents, and siblings don’t get a lot of quality time to connect and camp allows them that reprieve. Singing “Stars in the Sky” at Closing Campfire has always been a favorite moment of mine throughout all my years in camp. Happy tears are often shed, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

What does your role consist of as the Nursing & Medical Operations Director? 
My role has lots of variety in it! I love that I get to collaborate with many departments within the organization, as well as with the medical community and our Medical Advisory Committee. It also includes: reviewing camper applications, supervising and training our medical volunteers and seasonal medical team, strategic planning on how to medically support more campers, and also the inventory and operations of our medical building, The Depot! 

What is your favorite part of your role? 
Obviously, camp dancing and wearing Tutus on Tuesdays! But I do love the time spent with our amazing medical volunteers and the seasonal medical team. Our medical volunteers range from providers, specialists, nurses, certified nursing assistants, and students (medical, nursing, and NP). Camp cannot run without the day-to-day medical care that they provide. I am always grateful for their dedication, compassion and time that they give to camp. It’s a big circle of joy seeing the volunteers experience joy from seeing their campers experiencing joy, which also gives ME all the joy! 

What does Embrace Joy mean to you? 
Embracing Joy means being in awe of the goodness that is around you and holding that close.


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