Nurses are exceedingly important in the evaluation of environmental stresses in children. Nurses see the children in the doctors’ offices, in the schools and in the community as public health nurses or visiting nurses. Unfortunately, the level of environmental education given to nurses in their training is very limited. The understanding of environmental conditions and their effect on children must always be considered in evaluating the child’s health because of existing symptoms or as a preventive measure in special situations.
Nurses are uniquely qualified to teach parents and children about the potential for environmental problems causing disease and injury. They may be working on a one-to-one basis and therefore can have a more positive effect on the family’s thinking and resolve to correct serious environmental hazards.
Registered Environmental Health Specialists/Registered Sanitarians
Registered Environmental Health Specialists/Registered Sanitarians are experienced, highly trained, well-educated, applied scientists and leaders in recognizing, evaluating, and resolving environmental health and community health issues. They utilize both educational and enforcement tools to reduce and remove environmental health hazards and disease causing problems from a variety of situations. They work closely with other health professionals, civic and professional associations, governmental agencies, schools, preschools, and community leaders to effect positive change in the environment. They help promote better health and injury- and disease-free situations for all citizens, children and adults alike. These individuals work in the governmental sector, private sector, and academia, but the overwhelming number are in the public sector.
Environmental Health Aides
Environmental Health Aides/Community Health Aides are individuals, preferably from the local community, who have a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalency with good knowledge of high school level math, some science, and excellent communication skills in English. Typically, the individual should also have good communication skills in the language primarily used in the given community area. The individual is then given specialized training in the collection of samples of air, water, soil, sewage, paint, and other materials that could be causing environmental problems. The individual investigates complaints, writes simple reports, and teaches the residents how to reduce exposure to a variety of insects and rodents, environmental toxicants, potential injury-causing circumstances, and infection control problems. The aide is under the direct supervision of Registered Environmental Health Specialists.