February 28, 2017

Jane McEldowney Awarded Camp Nurse of the Year!

Jane "Ladybug" McEldowney has been named Camp Nurse of the Year by the Association of Camp Nurses. 

For the past 12 years, Jane has served as a nurse  for MESD's Outdoor School program at the Angelos and Namanu sites. 

Jane's professionalism and positive energy serve the sixth grade students, high school volunteers, and staff well during their stay at Outdoor School.

From Dan Prince:
 Jane has made education about ultraviolet radiation from sun exposure hands-on and integrated into our programming. She infused our morning weather forecasts with UV predictions, and made the concept real for students by creating a set of beads students wear on their name tag necklace that indicates sun exposure at all times. In addition, she created UV teaching materials for their use after students have attended the program, and has presented about this project at an international residential outdoor education conference.
As with any camp program, homesickness is a challenge for many children. Jane initiated several programs to help children feel more comfortable and in control of their emotions. Staff members carry soap bubble containers so that they can create a fun diversion away from homesickness. Jane instituted a kitchen timer method for students to be able to “lose it” and sob for a few minutes, then be able to gain control and move away from hysteria to engagement in activities. And she built a library of educational and entertaining materials for children to use while in the wellness center for any reason.
Jane is committed to providing the best access for including all students in the Outdoor School experience. She created Braille nametags for bunks for children. She has campaigned vigorously across the state for the Outdoor School for All campaign to secure funding for every student in Oregon to attend a week of Outdoor School. And she provided guidance and consultation to our camp host partners when they were designing a new wellness center. Her insights ensured both the functionality of that space as well as the accessibility for all children to access it and be comfortable in it.
Her innovations in efficiency have saved us both money and time, not to mention conserving environmental resources. She has reduced our use of paper medicine cups by 50% and plastic bag usage by 80%. She created a sticker system for medical charting that has vastly simplified our hand-charting methods.
And, of course, she is a wonderful presence for the staff and students. Each week Jane becomes Florence Nightingale for a living history performance, and she is, like so many fantastic camp nurses, a comfort for all in times of stress.
She excels in all areas of her work, from preparation of staff and volunteers, to connecting with students and families prior to participation.  Once students arrive Jane has proven to be a supportive, charismatic and hands-on camp nurse. She has a genuine love for the camp environment and how to make nursing be a seamless part of the program.  It's this balance and integration that has helped so many children thrive away from home and so many staff feel trust in her plans, strategies and decision making.  

From the ACN Website:
A hallmark of a profession is that it recognizes excellence among its practitioners. Toward that end, ACN's Board approved creation of the Camp Nurse of the Year Award. This award is designed to recognize an ACN member (nurse) who, by virtue of being a camp nurse at his/her camp, made a significant difference to that camp's health/wellness profile. While the Association's Jeanne Otto Award recognizes contribution to the profession of camp nursing, the Camp Nurse of the Year Award recognizes a camp nurse's significant contribution to the health status of his/her own camp and the people there.
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