The Environmental Health Nursing Certificate is open to graduate students or post-master's professionals who wish to develop advanced skills and expertise in environmental health nursing.
More than one quarter of the global disease burden is attributable to environmental exposures, with children bearing a disproportionate amount of the risk. Nursing is well placed to address these exposures with individuals, families, communities, and populations, particularly if provided with the tools and encouragement to act on underlying causes of disease and disability. Participating you will consider a variety of dimensions of environmental health, ranging from health disparities and the social determinants of health) to technical classes addressing specific agents (e.g., water quality) or methods (e.g. quantitative risk assessment).
Public health nurses specifically, as well as the broader general nursing community, have assumed an increasingly active role addressing local environmental issues. National efforts by the Institute of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health, and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) have been successful in emphasizing environmental health as an important and substantive area of nursing practice by providing additional support and legitimacy to environmental health as a critical area of nursing practice. Partly in response to the public's efforts, and partly in response to national initiatives, nurses have begun to reclaim their historic role addressing household and neighborhood environmental issues concerns.
In addition to selected coursework students will complete a capstone experience of 3 or more credits, involving a mentored research or clinical experience that is negotiated between the student and his or her certificate faculty advisor. Examples of potential capstone experiences include:
- tracking a bill introduced into the Washington State Legislature to reduce children's exposure to brominated flame retardants in clothing and furniture
- conducting 4 focus groups and summarizing findings from interviews with residents living in Seattle's public housing projects
- conducting well inspections with an environmental health sanitarian from rural Washington for the purpose of understanding the health risks from agricultural run-off
- conducting an assessment of the environmental health content needs of nurses employed on tribal nation reservations