Rural nurse environmental health education project
Braaksma, Amy Sue
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Rural communities face increased vulnerabilities to various environmental hazards. The National Institute of Medicine and the American Nurses Association have enforced the need for all nurses to increase their competency in addressing environmental hazards in the communities in which they provide care. Rural nurses face the challenging role of expert generalist. Several research studies demonstrate that there is a need to increase nurse's education to better address environmental hazards. The purpose of the Rural Nurse Environmental Health Education (RNEHE) Project was to: (a) investigate nurses' perception of priority environmental health topics within a specific rural community, (b) investigate learning methods that increase the probability of nurse participation in an Environmental Health (EH) learning activity, and (c) provide environmental risk reduction knowledge that is locally relevant. The anticipated outcome of the project was empowered rural nurses prepared to educate and advocate for EH in the communities in which they provide care. The Project utilized a two-phase approach to investigate priority topics and provide education that was specific to a group of nurses in rural central Montana. The Project resulted in a low participation rate despite utilizing preferred learning methods. The graduate nursing student concluded that education about environmental hazards in rural communities would be more successful with direct insider involvement in project planning and provision of education materials.