218494 Water Quality 101: Comparison of Practicing PHNs' and Senior BSN Students' Water Knowledge and Attitudes

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 5:30 PM - 5:50 PM

Kathleen L. Gilchrist, PhD, FNP, CCRN, PHN , Department of Nursing, California State University, Bakersfield, Bakersfield, CA
Cherie Rector, PhD, RN, PHN , Department of Nursing, California State Universty, Bakersfield, Visalia, CA
Background: Water quality, especially in California's agricultural areas, is problematic. It is the leading environmental concern for Americans, with some 260 identified contaminants. Some contaminants are naturally occurring, such as arsenic, but most are derived from agricultural and industrial pollution. Adverse health effects have been associated with high levels of contaminants, such as arsenic and nitrates, and the monetary cost of chronic childhood diseases linked to toxic chemical exposure is reported to exceed $55 billion annually. Environmental health is often lacking in nursing curricula, but there is growing interest among public health nurses to understand the link between the environment, the nation's health, and increasing health disparities. Purpose: Survey responses of senior level baccalaureate nursing students are compared with the findings of an earlier research study that examined PHNs knowledge level, attitudes and behaviors related to drinking water quality and adverse health effects of exposure to contaminants. Methods: PHNs in three county public health departments were surveyed regarding knowledge of their county's drinking water contaminants, adverse health effects that can result from exposure, and the signs and symptoms that may require additional investigation. These results will be compared with survey results from senior baccalaureate nursing students, attending a central California state university, who have recently completed community health nursing didactic coursework. Conclusions: Results from the PHN survey found that one-third of PHNs were unsure of problems with their drinking water, and almost half had no knowledge of the adverse health effects of nitrates and only limited knowledge about arsenic exposure.

Learning Areas:
Environmental health sciences
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related education
Public health or related nursing
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
By the end of the presentiation, the learner will be able to discuss the differences in water knowledge and attitudes of Senior BSN students and practicing public heatlh nurses.

Keywords: Water Quality, Health Risks

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have reserched this topic independently and conducted this reserch without any monetary assistance.
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.