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Nursing Health, & Environment: Strengthening the Relationship to Improve the Public's Health
into the following elective course work and graduate education in these specialty areas:
Objectives and time in public health, community health, and primary health care nursing course work must be dedicated to health concerns related to air, food, water, and soil quality.
Parent-child and family course work must include lecture content on prenatal and childhood lead exposure, pesticide exposure, environmentally induced asthma, health effects of environmental tobacco smoke, and household chemical exposures.
Women's health course work must include lecture content on chemical, physical, and biological agents suspected of being reproductive toxins. Emergency room or trauma course work must include injuries and illnesses resulting from toxic chemical exposures, in particular, emergency chemical releases.
Medical/surgery course work must include lecture content on the health effects of chronic exposure to chemical, physical, and biological agents on the job and in the environment (e.g., asbestos, pesticides, heavy metals, solvents, and radon).
Oncology course work must include content on environmentally caused (or suspected of causing) cancer.
Neurology specialty course work must include content on neurological conditions related to acute and chronic solvent and other neurotoxin exposure.
Lastly, the author would recommend that all basic nursing education include content on the health hazards that nurses will face as health care professionals (e.g., chemotherapeutic agents, ethylene oxide, aerosolized drugs, tuberculosis, blood-borne pathogens, radiation, back injuries, stress, and shift work). Not only is this information critical to a successful career in nursing, but hazards in the health care setting can serve as very relevant case studies or examples for teaching the principles of hazard recognition and control.