Community Health Issue Nursing and Pollutants Term Paper

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Community Health Issue

Nursing and Pollutants -- Increasing Community Awareness of Environmental Risks

According to the International Council of Nurses' position statement on "The Nurse's Role in Safeguarding the Human Environment," (1986) a nurse always has a professional duty to apply his or her trained observational skills to detect the ill effects of the environment on the patient, observe individuals in all settings for the possible negative effects of environmental pollutants, and record and analyze his or her observations about the ill effects on environment and/or pollutants on individuals. This is not simply to provide better care, but in keeping with Orem's model of self-care, to facilitate the patient's own sense of competence and to advise the patient on protective and curative measures to mitigate his or her exposure to dangerous substances. Note the stress upon all environments -- it is not enough to make sure that the patient is safe in the hospital or doctor's office. The nurse must provide advice on how to make the acts of daily self-care as free from risk as possible, in the patient's home, work, and leisure environment.

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Orem described the patient's environment as a combination of the physical, chemical, biologic, and social conditions relevant to self-care requisites and basic conditioning factors of patient health (Green, et al., 2003: 3). As the chance of exposure to chemical and environmental toxins increases, so must nurse's vigilance and awareness about these toxins, so they can better inform their patient of the risks, and so patients can deploy appropriate risk-mitigation strategies. Environmental diseases may be traced to such factors such as the patient's occupation, ambient air pollution, indoor air pollution, exposure to chemicals, radiation, climate change, noise, solid waste, and contaminated water and food (Green, et al. 2003:1).

Term Paper on Community Health Issue Nursing and Pollutants -- Assignment

Toxic risks may come from unexpected, seemingly harmless sources, such as gardening supplies, food, and the air itself. According to Barbara a. Sattler of Georgia Nursing: "many commonly used pesticides in agriculture, and even those used for homes and gardens, have not been sufficiently evaluated for their effects on human health-carcinogenicity, reproductive or neurological risks.... Dioxins are a family of highly toxic chemical compounds that are created when we combust chlorine compounds: Dioxins mimic human hormones and thus can create a range of potential dysfunctions in the human body-reproductive, neurological, immunologic [system]. They are also carcinogenic. Consumer Reports has tested baby food meat products and found them to have dioxin levels 100 times the Environmental Protection Agencies allowable amount" (Sattler, 2004-2005: 1).

The National Research Council (NRC) estimates that by age 12, in the U.S., most children will already have been exposed to 50% of their lifetime's exposure to pesticides. Using organic products can minimize such exposure, as can limiting the consumption of antibiotic-containing animal meats" (Sattler, 2004-2005: 1). During its 2004 (June) convention, the ANA passed a resolution was passed "calling for the cessation of non-therapeutic antibiotics in animal production and demanding that producers disclose when antibiotics are used" (Sattler, 2004-2005: 2).Unfortunately, the nurse must be aware that not all patients can afford an entire refrigerator of organic produce and meats. But the nurse can provide assistance to patients as to what produce is more likely to be contaminated, and also what products to avoid in creating a healthy diet. Limiting the consumption of fish known to contain high levels of mercury, especially for toddlers, the elderly, pregnant women, and persons with compromised immune symptoms is one step in the right direction. The nurse can also provide direction for the patient as to readily available and reliable sources of data, so the patient can make better life choices after leaving the nurse's care.

Evidence shows that limiting environmental exposure of patients to toxins is an especially important for obstetric nurses and midwives. "Genetic material in developing fetuses may be more susceptible to the damaging effects of air pollution than maternal DNA, Researchers collected blood samples from 265 pairs of nonsmoking, African-American or Latina mothers and newborns living in… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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