The area that is most helpful for a public health nurse to use is the “hazardous response capabilities” (FEMA, 2020, para. 1). This is an important area of public health that has received little attention from practitioners and policymakers since the focus has shifted towards epidemic preparedness. Nevertheless, communities can be affected by hazardous chemicals, and this threat is usually challenging to identify. Moreover, chemical hazards affect people rapidly, leaving little time to address this health concern and ensure the community’s safety. According to Stanhope and Lancaster (2016), globally, 80% of adverse health outcomes are linked to the environment, which includes water and air pollution and exposure to dangerous chemicals or biological agents. Moreover, globalization and the development of industries have increased the overall pollution of the air and water, which affects both developing and developed nations.
Nurses advocate for their patient’s health and teach them how to lead better lifestyles to improve their health and manage their diseases. However, this contribution is not enough if these patients are exposed to pollutants daily, although FEMA’s toolkit mainly addresses emergency exposure to harmful chemicals. Hence, the role of a nurse as an advocate of health is also in promoting policies that would address the environmental safety of individuals and limit their exposure to harmful chemicals and agents. In emergency situations, nurses can use FEMA’s Interagency Modeling and Atmospheric Assessment Center to track the potential hazards and address them in accordance with the organization’s requirements (FEMA, 2020). Overall, an essential area of public health is preparedness to respond to chemical and biological hazards. Moreover, nurses should understand that their patients are exposed to harmful pollutants daily and should use their knowledge and advocacy to address this issue.
FEMA. (2020). Hazardous response capabilities. Web.
Stanhope, M. & Lancaster, J. (2016). Public health nursing: Population-centered health care in the community (9th ed.). Elsevier.