NSG 604 Module 8 Assignment: Environmental Health

NSG 604 Module 8 Assignment: Environmental Health

NSG 604 Module 8 Assignment: Environmental Health

Module VIII: environmental health


We interact with the environment continually, and these interactions affect the quality of our lives and the number of quality, healthy years we live. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines the relationship of health to the environment as being all the physical, chemical, and biological factors external to a person, and all the related behaviors (WHO, 2015). The Healthy People 2030 environmental health objectives include:

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Increase the proportion of people whose water supply meets Safe Drinking Water Act regulations

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Reduce exposure to arsenic

Reduce exposure to lead

Reduce exposure to mercury in children

Reduce exposure to bisphenol A

Reduce exposure to perchlorate

Reduce diseases and deaths related to heat

Depending on the source, the United States makes up only 4% or 5% of the world’s population yet uses 24% or 25% of its energy—more than China, Japan, and India combined—and produces 22% to 28% of the world’s “carbon footprint.” These are huge issues when taken on a global scale.

As people live longer, the prevalence of chronic diseases with their pain and disability will continue to grow. On a smaller scale, what does this mean for healthcare providers and the development of chronic diseases?


Upon completion of this module the student will be able to:

discuss chronic disease epidemiology

identify environmental health issues

define the latency period

distinguish between the terms idiopathic and cryptogenic.

discuss the Precautionary Principle

Leading Causes of Death

The causes of diseases have changed over the last century when death was caused primarily by infections -influenza, pneumonia, tuberculosis, diarrhea, and enteritis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Heron, 2021) the leading causes of death in 2019 were:

Diseases of heart

Malignant neoplasms

Accidents (unintentional injuries)

Chronic lower respiratory diseases

Cerebrovascular diseases

Alzheimer disease

Diabetes mellitus

Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis

Influenza and pneumonia

Intentional self-harm (suicide)

Epidemiology involves studying the distribution, determinants, prevention, and control of these disorders. Chronic diseases develop slowly, and usually are less severe than acute conditions, but have a long duration. The latency period is the period of time before the disease occurs. Preventative interventions at this point may decrease the chances of development.

According to the CDC (2020) 6 in 10 adults have at least one chronic disease and 4 in 10 adults have two or more. Many chronic diseases are directly related to risk factors such as:

Tobacco Use/Secondhand smoke

Poor nutrition

Lack of physical activity

Alcohol abuse

Infectious agents such as tuberculosis, syphilis, polio, leprosy, and COVID-19, among others, can lead to chronic, debilitating conditions.

Social Determinants of Health

Social and environmental issues such as violence, acts of terrorism, and natural disasters predispose one to chronic illnesses. According to Merrill (2021) factors such as, poverty, fear, stress, economics, and crime also contribute to chronic health problems. Behavior changes, however, can help overcome some of these behavioral and social health issues.

Heredity and Chronic Problems

Diseases can be idiopathic (having genetic origins) in nature or cryptogenic (having non-generic origins). Many health problems have a genetic component; osteoporosis is one example. Although they may not be eliminated, one can do much to prevent them. Weight-bearing exercises are an excellent way to increase bone density and prevent osteoporosis.

Unfortunately, prevention is difficult to measure and may not be identifiable when it occurs. We all know that prevention works and that it must be the goal to improve the health of all populations.

Environmental Health, Epidemiology, and Nursing

“The basic principle of epidemiology is to clarify the relationship between environmental agents and human health” (Amiri, 2022, p. 45). Epidemiology supports the development of models that can predict hazards and their effect on humans. Nurse’s use epidemiologic data and population concepts in many ways. for example, in planning an intervention to decrease falls of elderly patients on a hospital unit, the characteristics of the unit and patients helps to identify any relationships that can be altered.

One Health is a CDC agency begun in 2009. It is focused on “…using a collaborative, multisectoral, and transdisciplinary approach — working at the local, regional, national, and global levels — with the goal of achieving optimal health outcomes recognizing the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment” (CDC, 2022, p.1). Focus areas for One Health include zoonotic diseases, antimicrobial resistance, food safety, vector-borne diseases, environmental contamination, and other health threats shared by people, animals, and the environment. This includes pandemic preparedness and response.

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Precautionary Principle

The Precautionary Principle calls for “erring on the side of caution” if there are any doubts as to the safety of a new intervention or product. The American Nurses Association (ANA)’s Principles of Environmental Health for Nursing Practice include that nurses should practice in a way that does not harm the environment or human health. This requires consideration of how health policy and politics can balance ecological concerns with economic and social factors.

The Precautionary Principle developed from a consensus statement in 1998. The four central tenets include taking preventive action when uncertain, placing the burden of proof on those who are the proponents of an activity, exploring alternatives to harmful actions, and increasing the public’s involvement in decision-making.

Welcome to week 8


Merrill: Chapter 11

Environmental Health | Work Environment | ANA Enterprise (nursingworld.org)

Environmental Health in Nursing, 2nd Edition (2022) can be found at the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments at http://www.envirn.org

One Health Basics | One Health | CDC

Aronson, J. K. (2021). When I use a word . . . . The Precautionary Principle: a definition. BMJ : British Medical Journal (Online), 375 When I use a word . . . . The Precautionary Principle: a definition – ProQuest

Chaudry, R. V. (2008). The precautionary principle, public health, and public health nursing. Public Health Nursing (Boston, Mass.), 25(3), 261-268. The Precautionary Principle, Public Health, and Public Health Nursing – Chaudry – 2008 – Public Health Nursing – Wiley Online Library (oclc.org)


Module VIII
Discussion 1

Based on the readings from this module choose a disease, disability, or injury disorder you believe is being overlooked and discuss measures you would take to address this problem.

Module VIII – Discussion 1


Module VIII: Chronic Disease Epidemiology

Post your initial response by Wednesday at 11:59 PM EST. Respond to two students by Saturday at 11:59 PM EST. The initial discussion post and discussion responses occur on three different calendar days of each electronic week. All responses should be a minimum of 300 words, scholarly written, APA formatted (with some exceptions due to limitations in the D2L editor), and referenced. A minimum of 2 references are required (other than the course textbook). These are not the complete guidelines for participating in discussions. Please refer to the Grading Rubric for Online Discussion found in the Course Resources module.

Special Guidance on APA formatting in Discussion Posts

APA formatting is required in discussion posts with the following two exceptions (due to limitations with the text editor in LIVE): double line space and indent 1/2 inch from the left margin. Discussion posts will NOT be evaluated on those two formatting requirements. All other APA formatting guidelines should be followed. For example, in-text citations must be formatted with the appropriate information and in the correct sequence (Author, year), reference list entries must include all appropriate information following guidelines for capitalization, italics, and be in the correct sequence. Refer to the APA Publication Manual 7th ed. for each source type’s specific requirements. Please let your instructor know if you have any questions.

Wilkes University

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