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Environmental Health

Environmental Health Competencies

  • Community nurses play a vital role in educating people about environmental health.  To be good environmental health specialists, nurses need to possess basic knowledge of various aspects of environmental health.  The four principles of environmental health are:
    • Everything is connected to everything else
    • Everything has to go somewhere 
    • The solution to pollution is dilution
    • Today’s solution maybe tomorrow’s problem
  • We can infer from the four principles that environmental pollution is increasing every year, and it can affect people and the environment through various exposure pathways.  These direct and indirect pathways of pollutants can cause serious health consequences.
  • Nurses possessing a basic knowledge of environmental health can perform a thorough assessment and referral of communities.  They can visit sites and study the various factors and make accurate inferences.
  • The functional locations could be at home, at school, the workplace, and in the community.
  • As assessment of these locations can be made by driving around the locality and studying the various ways through which the exposure is taking place.
  • The primary sources for exposure are through air, water, and food.  The burning of fossil fuels and waste incineration are both a major contribution to polluting the air and water, which in turn affects farm land, leading to adulterated food quality.

Reducing Environmental Health Risks

  • Environmental health risks can be substantially reduced by following three steps.  They are: reuse durable goods, reduce consumption, and recycle waste products
  • It is not enough to  identify risks alone.  Communicating them to the right people at the right time is also important.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • There are important roles and responsibilities that you can fulfill as an environmental health care provider
  • You can be effective when you involve yourself in community work and participate in public programs.  Skills in community organizing and mobilizing can be especially useful to make a meaningful contribution
  • You can play the role of a reporter.  Use all your knowledge and expertise in making individual and population risk assessments. Examine the environment that communities are exposed to, and make a thorough analysis of the various risk factors.
  • You can be a scientific advisor too.  You can use your knowledge of epidemiologic factors and make appropriate decisions about the various environmental health risk factors. 


Disaster Response

  • Disasters are calamities that are natural and man-made.  They result in damages that cannot be recovered without assistance.
  • Natural disasters are natural calamities such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and landslides.  Man-made disasters are war, terror attacks, fires, and chemical spills

Disaster Management

  • There are three phases in the disaster management plan.  these phases are: Preparedness, Response, Recovery


  • Preparedness requires keeping supplies and equipment that are necessary to cope with emergencies, undergoing training in disaster response techniques, and ensuring the safety insurance documents and other important certificates .
  • Nurses prepare themselves by familiarizing themselves with disaster management plans and by participating in disaster management drills.  They also get involved in the activities of community organizations such as Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) and the Red Cross


  • Response is the process of coping with the disaster.  Emergency procedures are followed to raise the alarm and to evacuate people.  This helps to minimize morbidity and mortality.
  • Photographs are taken at the site for insurance claims
  • According to the Department of Homeland Security, the National Response Plan (NRP) is a concerted national effort to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States, reduce America’s vulnerability to major disasters and other emergencies, and minimize the damage and recover from attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies that occur.”


  • Recovery is the process of getting back to normal by restoring the damaged materials to a stable and usable condition.
  • Claims from insurance companies can help restore the damaged materials. 

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Nursing 340 – Public Health Nursing 

1. Introduction to Public Health Nursing