Montana public health nurses' perceptions of environmental hazards and health effects
Burkholder, Stephanie Buswell
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Public health nurses (PHNs) are in a prime position to educate individuals, families, and communities about the potential detrimental effects of environmental hazards and related health effects. The 2005 Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) survey elicited data from Montana PHNs regarding their concern for environmental hazards and health effects. Using data from the EPHT survey, the aim of this thesis was to determine if differences existed among Montana PHNs regarding their concern for environmentally attributable hazards and health effects based on their level of educational preparation. Findings indicated there were no statistically significant differences between PHNs with a baccalaureate degree or higher versus PHNs with less than a baccalaureate degree and their concern for either environmental hazards or health effects. Qualitative differences were also examined and indicated that PHNs in the total sample were most concerned about tobacco smoke in the homes of children and cancer. Conversely, they were least concerned about residences built in floodplains and infertility. These findings are discussed as they apply to PHN practice and preparation of nurses to intervene where environmental concerns exist.