An Education Program for Family Nurses about Environmental Health

Presented at 14th International Family Nursing Conference


The purpose of this project is to provide environment health (EH) education to family nurses to improve their knowledge pertaining to families, particularly those whose health is at risk, or adversely affected by their environments. Nurses ought to consider how social justice aligns with the families’ intrinsic right to the even distribution of resources and how this aligns with physical surroundings and the environment in which they live, as the physical environment is a social determinant of health (SDH).

Although the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) recognizes the important relationship between the environment and human health, and recommends it be included in nursing education, nurses remain unprepared to address EH issues. Family Systems Theory will guide the project to ensure involvement of the whole family in education about EH, and The Social Ecological Model (SEM) will be utilized in the development of health promotion interventions at various levels as, individual, interpersonal, the community, organizational and environment to develop family nursing interventions that address EH. International and national policies that will inform the program development include; The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion which identifies requirements for health (i.e. peace, shelter, education, food, income, a stable eco-system, sustainable resources, social justice and equity); Healthy People 2020 which identifies environmental objectives as water quality, toxins, waste, healthy homes, and healthy communities; and The Canadian Patient Safety Institute, that supports EH through the inclusion of learning outcomes developed for nursing curricula.

This information will guide the development of the education program to inform family nurses and aid in the translation of knowledge to families about environmental health. Program evaluation will include administration of a questionnaire to nurses’ pre and post participation. This education program aims to increase family nurses’ ecoliteracy, simultaneously promoting family resilience, and build capacity within family members to identify EH risks.