255121 Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety Education and Clinical Experiences for Undergraduate Community Health Nursing Students: A Pilot Program

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 2:50 PM - 3:10 PM

Marcella Thompson, PhD, MS, CSP, RN, COHN-S, FAAOHN , Superfund Research Program, Brown University, Providence, RI
Background. Typically, the undergraduate nursing curriculum addresses occupational and environmental health and safety (OEHS) in a few hours lecture. Most community health nursing instructors have minimal OEHS-related education or experience. OEHS nurses provide workforce wellness to many blue collar and minority workers who have limited or no access to primary care. Providing clinical opportunities within this subspecialty prepares this next generation of nurses to address critical OEHS issues of working populations. Description. The aim of this pilot program was to introduce OEHS-related education and clinical experiences into the undergraduate community health nursing curriculum. There were four phases: update the community health nursing curriculum to include OEHS; recruit mentors in occupational settings and coordinate clinical placements; conduct half-day workshop for community health clinical nursing faculty prior to start of the semester; and provide an all-day OEHS-related experience for students in conjunction with the state health department. Lessons Learned. Curriculum was updated to incorporate occupational health-related topics including occupational health history and walkthrough assessment. Six clinical occupational health placements were secured, two for RN-to-BSN students and four for undergraduate nursing seniors. Fourteen undergraduate nursing students participated in a worksite wellness screening for 1,000 employees and their families. All community health nursing students in the state attended the health department workshop. Six clinical faculty attended a workshop that involved a presentation and discussion in the morning and a walkthrough assessment tour of a local manufacturing plant in the afternoon. Recommendations. This project fostered academic, educational and community collaborations that ultimately benefited working populations.

Learning Areas:
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related education
Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
Discuss four steps to integrating occupational and environmental health and safety (OEHS) into undergraduate nursing curriculum. List one method for preparing the new nursing workforce to meet the special healthcare needs of a vulnerable working population.

Keywords: Occupational Health, Nursing Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am Assistant Professor, Adjunct at the College of Nursing, University of Rhode Island and Post-Doctoral Research Associate for Brown University’s Superfund Research Program. I am board certified as a safety professional and as an occupational health nurse specialist. I am a Fellow of the Academy of American Occupational Health Nurses. I conducted this pilot program while teaching community health nursing as a doctoral student. I won the Student Award for Social Justice in Medicine.
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.