BOX 4-2GENERAL ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH COMPETENCES FOR NURSES

I. Basic Knowledge and Concepts

All nurses should understand the scientific principles and underpinnings of the relationship between individuals or populations and the environment (including the work environment). This understanding includes the basic mechanisms and pathways of exposure to environmental health hazards, basic prevention and control strategies, the interdisciplinary nature of effective interventions, and the role of research.

II. Assessment and Referral

All nurses should be able to successfully complete an environmental health history, recognize potential environmental hazards and sentinel illnesses, and make appropriate referrals for conditions with probable environmental etiologies. An essential component of this is the ability to access and provide information to patients and communities and to locate referral sources.

III. Advocacy, Ethics, and Risk Communication

All nurses should be able to demonstrate knowledge of the role of advocacy (case and class), ethics, and risk communication in patient care and community intervention with respect to the potential adverse effects of the environment on health.

IV. Legislation and Regulation

All nurses should understand the policy framework and major pieces of legislation and regulations related to environmental health.

SOURCE: Institute of Medicine, 1995b.

From: 4, Education

Cover of Toward Environmental Justice
Toward Environmental Justice: Research, Education, and Health Policy Needs.
Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Environmental Justice.
Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1999.
Copyright © 1999, National Academy of Sciences.

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