Enivronemental Health Essay

2567 words - 11 pages

Environmental Health

The environment has a symbiotic relationship to the health of individuals, families and communities. The environment must be healthy in order for achievement of optimal health (Stanhope and Lancaster, 2014). Nurses have a responsibility to understand the health environmental risks, including how and what, should be included in assessment, planning and implementing interventions to reduce or eliminate the environmental risk. In addition, nurses must be able to communicate the environmental health risks, provide needed education and advocate for public policies to mitigate the risk to health (Stanhope and Lancaster, 2014). This paper will explore the nurse’s ...view middle of the document...

According to Stanhope and Lancaster, 2014) nurses must have a basic understanding regarding the relationship that exists between the two. By having a solid comprehension of the environmental health sciences, toxicology, epidemiology and multidisciplinary approach, the nurses can conduct the appropriate assessments leading to the development of interventions that will result in prevention and control of environmental health issues. An example of this competency is seen in nurses who are caring for patients who live in poverty. These patients may reside in environments that expose them to environmental hazards such as, overcrowded homes, living close proximity to hazardous waste, have access to poor quality of foods and environmental hazards such as lead paint. By understanding these risk exist and the potential outcome to the patient, the nurse can plan accordingly.
2. Assessment and Referral: Nurses must be competent in completing environmental health histories, be able to recognize potential hazards and unexpected illness, make appropriate referrals that will include plausible environmental origins. Examples of nursing assessments that might discover an environmental risk is when nurses care for older patients. The patient’s presenting symptoms may warrant further investigation for past exposure to toxic substances such as asbestos. To ensure that patient and or community needs are met, the nurse must be aware of available resources and have the ability to access them in order develop and implement nursing interventions. Stanhope and Lancaster (2014) provide a listing of basic resources that nurses may utilize such as, The National Lead Information Center, Local Poison Control Centers, The Office of Pesticides, The American Lung Association and Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry, just to name a few.
3. Advocacy, Ethics and Risk Communication: Nurses must understand the role of advocacy for specific environmental health risks. Many individuals and communities do not have adequate access to information regarding environmental health risks. Nurses are ethically responsible to ensure the individuals and communities in which they practice are provided this information (Pope,A., Synder, M and Mood, L. 1995). Having knowledge regarding the availability to consult with other disciplines such as food safety specialists, sanitarians, radiation specialists and industrial hygienist will ensure issues are address thoroughly. In the example of lead poisoning, nurses can collaborate with house inspectors trained in lead paint detection, a sanitarians with expertise in lead exposure risks in the home, healthcare workers that can manage clinical issues associated with lead poisoning and laboratories that can provide analysis on blood and or paint samples for measurement of lead levels. The agencies needed for this type of situation may have local or state health department oversight. The nurse must ensure they have the...

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