209545 Preparing Environmentally Safe Health Care Practitioners: An Innovative Nursing Curriculum Promoting a Conscious Social Change Through Healthy Community Partnerships

Monday, November 9, 2009: 9:30 AM

Mary Bouchaud, MSN, CNS, RN, CRRN , Jefferson School of Nursing, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA
Teresa Mendez-Quigley, MSW, LSW , Women's Health & Environmental Network (WHEN), Philadelphia, PA
Most pre-licensure and RN-BSN nursing students are unfamiliar with their roles and responsibilities as a community/public health nurse. Many are unaware of the environmental health issues within the communities they live and work. In addition, these nursing students are unfamiliar with their role in contributing to and resolving environmental health issues as community residents and health care practitioners. However, nursing needs to take a leadership role in the emerging world of

environmental health and work with environmentalist leaders to promote environmentally healthy and safe working and living communities.

Environmental health was introduced in the community nursing curriculum ten years ago. Initially, it was limited to one hour of a 21 hour course, but since has been expanded to three hours. The class is designed to show students the connection between themselves and their environment and educate them as to their professional and personal responsibility in promoting and maintaining healthy environments/communities. Through collaborative efforts with an environmental health nurse in Philadelphia, and the Director for Women's Health Environmental Network in Philadelphia, I have been able to present current environmental health issues in classroom lecture, develop community course projects to challenge students to identify and address environmental health issues within their own communities, invite political advocates to educate students on how and why to become politically involved in the promotion of healthy communities, and incorporate community clinical rotations in environmental health nursing. Students have been placed in prisons, occupational health facilities, the EPA, and OSHA to identify and address environmental health concerns.

Learning Objectives:
Upon completion of this presentation the learner will be able to: 1. Discuss the need for preparing nursing students for environmental health nursing practice 2. Design a nursing educational curriculum that incorporates environmental health practices and empowers students to assess and promote environmentally healthy and safe work and community environments

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been one of two community nursing faculty at Thomas Jefferson University School of Nursing for the past ten years. I have been responsible for the inclusion of environmental health in the community nursing curriculum for the past ten years. In addition, I began collaboratively working with the Director of WHEN (Women's Health Environmental Network) in Philadelphia and togther we applied for and received a mini grant from Health Care Without Harm to support the expansion of environmental health nursing in both the classroom and clinical component of the community nursing course. I also worked with the Director of WHEN, the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association, and the University of Maryland School of Nursing to obtain another mini-grant from Health Care Without Harm to develop an 8 hour workshop for RN's to educate them on promoting environmentally healthy and safe communities at work and where they live. This workshop provided CE's. I continue to work collaboratively with WHEN to expand the environmental health education of baccalaureate nursing students at Thomas Jefferson University School of Nursing.
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.