182456 Integrating Environmental Sustainability into Community Health Nursing Curriculum

Monday, October 27, 2008: 2:50 PM

Helen Peake-Godin, MN RN , College of Nursing and Health Professions, University of Southern Maine, Portland, ME
Maggie Fournier, MS RN , College of Nursing and Health Professions, University of Southern Maine, Portland, ME
In response to the current environmental sustainability crisis and encouraged by an environmental workshop sponsored by the university, community health faculty of the USM College of Nursing and Health Professions (CONHP) initiated a college environmental sustainability committee and increased environment-related content into the community health nursing curriculum. These actions not only increased knowledge and awareness among students and other faculty members, but also provided learning opportunities for students and faculty outside the CONHP. This paper provides an overview of the steps that were taken to have a college-wide standing committee created and committee activities to increase community-wide awareness. Content in the community health undergraduate course was altered to increase content in environmental issues, their impact on health, and the role of nurses in becoming leaders of change.

Students follow with the development of community assessment projects, which focus on such topics as lead, mercury and phalates and their impact on a community's health.

Graduate nursing students in the health policy course took on the responsibility to develop a CONHP sponsored forum which included a state legislator, scientist, nurse, environmental activist, and physician.

The overall goal is to continue to strengthen the role of community health nurses in environmental health by increasing the knowledge and skills of nursing students.

Learning Objectives:
1. Define the concept of environmental sustainablilty as it relates to community health 2. Describe specific threats to the environment and health. 3. Discribe the steps to develop a nursing curriculum that includes the environment as a conceptual theme with specific objectives for community health nursing courses. 4. Discribe the steps in establishing a college-wide environmental sustainability committee. 5. Discuss how to develop an interdisciplinary university and community program with the goals of informing participants and developing strategies for sustainability. 6. Define the role of community health nurses in environmental safety and sustainability.

Keywords: Environmental Health, Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have no conflict of interest. I have developed an environmental interdisciplinary committee to discuss and integrate environmental sustainability in our community.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.