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Addressing Negative Environmental Influences on Health: Lessons from the Flint Water Crisis and Measures for a Health-Promoting Environment

Addressing Negative Environmental Influences on Health: Lessons from the Flint Water Crisis and Measures for a Health-Promoting Environment


1) Historical Public Health Nursing Figures:

a) Florence Nightingale: Florence Nightingale is regarded as a modern nursing pioneer who substantially contributed to establishing public health nursing. During the Crimean War in the mid-nineteenth century, she rose to prominence by working to ameliorate the cloudy conditions in military hospitals. Nightingale highlighted the significance of cleanliness, hygiene, and infection control methods in healthcare settings. Her efforts helped to establish nursing as a respected profession and laid the groundwork for incorporating public health themes into nursing practice.

b) Lillian Wald: Lillian Wald was a nurse and social reformer who was instrumental in the early establishment of public health nursing. In New York City, she formed the Henry Street Settlement to provide healthcare and social services to the city’s underprivileged immigrant community. Wald’s research concentrated on the socioeconomic determinants of health, such as poverty, poor housing, and healthcare access. She is an outspoken supporter of health education, disease prevention, and integrating nursing services with public health efforts. Wald’s initiatives paved the way for community-based nursing and the understanding of social elements in health promotion and disease prevention.

2) Epidemiological Processes and the Pandemic of COVID-19:

The study of the distribution and determinants of health-related events in populations is known as epidemiology. The COVID-19 pandemic is linked to several epidemiological processes:

COVID-19 is primarily transferred via respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, or breathes heavily. This mechanism of transmission aids in the virus’s rapid proliferation within communities and across regions.

b) Incidence and Prevalence: To understand the disease’s burden in diverse groups, epidemiologists track the incidence (rate of new cases) and prevalence (total number of cases) of COVID-19. Tracking these indicators assists in identifying high-risk groups, assessing the effectiveness of control measures, and directing resource allocation.

c) Outbreak Investigation: During outbreaks, epidemiological studies are done to determine the source and mechanism of transmission. To prevent future virus transmission, contact tracing and testing procedures are used to identify and isolate individuals exposed to it.

d) monitoring: Ongoing monitoring systems track COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and fatalities to spot outbreaks, follow trends, and direct public health measures. Surveillance data aid in the development of public health policies and guidelines.

3) Harmful Environmental Impact: Flint Water Crisis

The Flint, Michigan, water crisis is a painful illustration of a detrimental environmental influence on health. Flint shifted its water supply source in 2014, resulting in lead pollution of the drinking water. Individuals, families, and the community suffered severe health repercussions as a result of this environmental exposure:

– Lead was exposed to individuals and families, which can cause neurological and developmental disorders, particularly in children. Many residents have increased blood lead levels and other health problems.

– The community suffered social and psychological consequences due to mistrust, anxiety, and the long-term effects of lead exposure.

Several efforts are required to foster a health-promoting environment in the aftermath of such events:

– The environmental hazard should be addressed as soon as possible. Restoring a safe and clean water supply was critical in the Flint water disaster.

– Comprehensive healthcare services, including medical examinations, treatment, and support for people affected by environmental factors, should be made available.

– Health education and community participation are critical in educating individuals and communities about environmental health concerns, prevention techniques, and available resources.

– Advocating for policy reforms, laws, and money to ensure safe environmental conditions and avoid future incidents.

– It is critical for healthcare professionals, community organizations, government agencies, and legislators to work together.

Address the multiple effects of harmful environmental factors and put in place long-term solutions.

By implementing these initiatives, communities can create a healthy environment that promotes the well-being of individuals and families.

You are the Population Health Nurse:

1) Identify and elaborate on at least two (2) historical figues that became important to the development of Public Health Nursing and explain why.

2) Relate the epidemiological processes to the current COVID-19 pandemic

3) Identify a negative environmental influence health story, (ex. the water supply in Flint, Michigan ONLY- use a different environmental influence) or global warming extreme heat; extreme weather rains , flooding etc. . Explain how individuals, families, and/ or communities have been affected? Now discuss measures needed to foster a health promoting environment.

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