Background Many residents volunteer at summer camps for children with Diabetes Mellitus and Oncologic conditions. Volunteering at summer camps separates residents from their family and often requires them to live in rustic conditions. This study is being conducted as a quality assurance tool to assess how valuable of an experience it is for residents to volunteer at summer camps, and to ensure that the service is not being provided without benefit. There are few studies on volunteerism in residency to assess the impact on the training and overall experience of residents. The University of California, San Francisco looked at residents’ international volunteer elective, and found that it enhanced the clinical experience of the residents and also seemed to promote volunteerism after graduation. (Clin Orthop 396:12–18).
Methods A survey was distributed to residents in the current UBC Paediatric Residency Training program in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th years, as well as the graduates of year 2002, 2003, 2004, and current subspecialty fellows. A separate survey was completed for each camp attended. All surveys are confidential. All camps of summers of 2000–04 were eligible.
Results The preliminary results show a total number of surveys being returned being 17. All participants went as camp physicians. Although residents were there to provide constant medical support and coverage, the number of hours of work done was surprisingly low. The physicians rated the following experiences as very valuable or uniquely valuable with the following frequency: medical learning experience 65%; emotional/quality of life learning experiences for the child 82%; medical care provision experience 76%; interactive experience with other faculty/medical staff 82%; and the value of a camp experience for other trainees at the same level of training 94%.
Conclusions The overall experience provided by attending camp as a volunteer seems to be positive and well received by the residents and fellows who responded. This practice should be continued, supported and encouraged within residency programs.