|Community Environmental Quality
Knowledge and Awareness among Nurses:
Developing and Piloting an Assessment
Survey in Schools
Derek G. Shendell
Melannie S. Alexander
About one in five Americans spends a considerable number of hours in school
each week, and thus, is exposed to a variety of environmental agents.
Community health nursing professionals require resources and specific training
to acquire the environmental knowledge needed to raise personal and community
awareness as an enhancement of their practice. Given limited resources for
schools and local public health education initiatives, identifying and prioritizing
environmental concerns comes before actions to prevent or reduce exposures.
With the rise in prevalence of childhood asthma, of special concern are those
agents within the school environment that may serve as asthma triggers. This
pilot project, within a larger study in a large school district in metropolitan Atlanta,
Georgia, developed and piloted an environmental health priorities survey with
school nurses and other school staff about indoor and outdoor microenvironments
relevant to school-aged children. Findings indicate that participants (N =
34) could prioritize environmental issues to inform future intervention activities
(such as continuing education training), and distinguish predominantly indoor
from typical outdoor exposure agents and their major sources.