Since its founding in 2008, the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments (ANHE), a member organization of Climate for Health, has been fulfilling a mission of promoting healthy people and healthy environments by educating and leading the nursing profession, advancing research, incorporating evidence-based practice, and influencing policy. ANHE’s most recent initiative captures all four of these goals in the form of its new e-textbook, Environmental Health in Nursing.
This free, open-access, peer-reviewed guide is intended for nurses and other health professionals at all levels. The 160-page, illustrated textbook was edited by leading environmental health nursing experts and shares their environmental health knowledge, expertise, and experiences. It also has the potential to be an important tool for climate communication and action through nursing practice.
The e-textbook is divided into eight units, plus an introduction and conclusion: Why Nursing; Harmful Environmental Exposures and Vulnerable Populations; Environmental Health Sciences; Practice Settings; Sustainable Communities; Climate Change; Energy; Advocacy; and Research.
Besides providing a detailed overview of the topic at hand, each unit is rich with live links to resources such as interviews, webinars, videos, and informative websites. Full references are included.
Among other things, readers will find the Top 10 Reasons That Nurses and Environmental Health Go Together, learn about hazardous exposures in health care settings, explore environmental justice, learn how to hold a successful legislative meeting, and get to know researchers and their work via detailed Q&As.
Another important feature of the guide is its electronic format. Besides a search function that lets readers instantly find information on a topic of interest, it contains direct links to authoritative resources such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s Toxicology Data Network (ToxNet) and the World Health Organization.
Eye on Climate
Environmental Health in Nursing devotes a chapter to climate change. Topics covered include the basic science; its main effects on the environment; climate-related health conditions such as Zika virus and mental health problems; and patients who are likely to be disproportionately impacted by these ailments.
The section was written by Laura Anderko, Chair of Values-Based Health Care at Georgetown University, and Stephanie Chalupka, Associate Dean for Nursing at Worcester State University and a visiting scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health.
About the Editors
The textbook’s editors are Jeanne Leffers, Professor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth; Claudia M. Smith, retired Assistant Professor, University of Maryland Baltimore School of Nursing; Ruth McDermott-Levy, Associate Professor and Director of Villanova University’s College of Nursing’s Center for Global and Public Health; Barbara Sattler, Professor, University of San Francisco; and Katie Huffling, ANHE Director of Programs.
Environmental Health and Nursing was “truly was a labor of love,” according to Huffling. “I hope this e-textbook will become the go-to resource for nurses in the coming months and years ahead as the work of environmental health becomes even more vital to the health of our nation.”
Environmental Health in Nursing is intended to be a living document, so ANHE welcome ideas for new topics and potential authors in subsequent editions. Contact Katie with questions or comments at [email protected] or 240-753-3729.
ANHE & Climate for Health Join Forces
The release of ANHE’s electronic textbook coincides with a new collaboration with ecoAmerica and the Climate for Health leadership community. These collaborative efforts are designed to build support for climate solutions in the United States over the coming year.
The partnership has four goals:
1. Building visible national leadership on climate solutions within the nursing sector;
2. Creating climate-literate nursing professionals who can lead on climate;
3. Engaging all national nursing associations and their members in climate action; and
4. Building collective action for climate solutions within nursing and across the health sector.
Among other things, the collaboration will recruit nursing associations to join climate initiatives and develop resolutions and action plans; create educational materials in many mediums to train nurse leaders as trainers and communicators; and create metrics to measure awareness, attitudes, and behaviors around climate and health. The partnership will develop several events, culminating in the first national Conference on Climate, Health, and Nursing for nurse leaders. Stay tuned for details as they evolve!
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