Thursday, January 12, 2017

NEWS | Nurses uniquely positioned to fight climate change

By Mary Kuhlman
Ohio News Connection

Nurses' unique position on the front line of health care makes them key players in the fight against climate change, according a new report on nursing and the environment.

The report by the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments found that climate change impacts people's health in Ohio by worsening air quality.

Peggy Berry, an RN from Dayton, says nurses take pride in being in one of the most trusted professions and prefer to prevent disease rather than treat it. And she believes nurses should be inspired to learn the science behind climate change and take action by helping patients.

"The main focus is for nurses to look at the health effects that are out there because of climate change - an increase in instance of asthma and other cardiovascular diseases brought on from inability to breathe," she points out.

The report also urges nurses to reduce their own carbon footprint, help their communities prepare for climate change-related emergencies and campaign to include education about climate change and its health effects in the university curricula for nursing degrees.

EPA administrator Gina McCarthy signed a memorandum of understanding on Thursday that creates a framework to work with the nurses' alliance on projects to educate nurses about climate change.

Katie Huffling, director of the nurses' alliance and co-author of the report, says she's worried about attempts to roll back climate regulations. She says nurses should be engaged, and speak with elected leaders about their concerns.

"President-elect Trump has made it clear that he doesn't believe in climate change," Huffling states. "That's going to significantly impact the health of Americans now and for future generations. And so we really need strong leadership to address this public health issue right now.""

The report came out of a summit held late last year by the Obama administration titled the 2016 White House Summit on Climate Change, Health and Nursing.

No comments:

Post a Comment