NURS 3335 DQ Environmental and Occupational Health/Human Factors

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NURS 3335 DQ Environmental and Occupational Health/Human Factors

NURS 3335 DQ Environmental and Occupational Health/Human Factors

Human Factors play an integral part in healthcare. Review this week’s videos regarding this topic and reflect upon these factors and your own experiences. In the video LDI Louise Batz, her daughter mentions 3 reasons preventable medical errors occur and her conviction about the importance of patients and families being an integral part of the healthcare team.

As mentioned in the LDI Louise Batz video, how does lack of teamwork, lack of knowledge and lack of technology impact the occurrence of preventable medical errors?

How do Human Factors influence healthcare errors? Describe what you have seen in either your professional or personal life.

How can patients and their families be included in the healthcare team and how would this impact healthcare?

For your original post, please respond with a substantive answer (at least 3-4 well-written sentences for each prompt) to each of these three questions.

There are NO references required for this discussion board. This is discussion is simply meant for you to reflect upon these questions.

What is “Environment” in Environmental Health?

Note that occupational health is a special case of environmental health and refers to health issues associated with jobs occupations, professions, and in the context of work. This is why here we will discuss occupational and environmental health together as “Environmental Health”.

When we study environmental health, our aim is to understand the role of environment in shaping our health and what can we do about it. For example, if we know that exposure to air pollution leads to respiratory diseases such as asthma, then, in order to prevent asthma, we will need to improve air quality. If we know that if the quality of our drinking water is poor and leads to diarrhoeal diseases, then, we must improve our drinking water standards and take steps to prevent such illnesses. Therefore, in the discussion of environmental health, environment refers to an element we can modify to improve public health.

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What do we mean by “environment” in Environmental Health?

Hence, we mean by “environment” that is both:

(1) External to humans and

(2) Results from human activities.

For example, environmental tobacco smoke is an environmental health issue. Smoke from cigarettes results in air pollution; inhaled smoke also leads to different illnesses. Smoke from burning cigarettes drifts in air and reaches our air passages. Smoke results from human activities (smoking); smoke is external to us; and, smoking harms our health. Hence smoking is an environmental health problem.

In contrast, health effects that result from earthquake cannot be labelled as an environmental health problem even though severe physical and mental health issues result in people who suffer consequences of earthquakes. The reason health effects of earthquake cannot be described as environmental health is that there is no reason to believe that earthquakes are results of human activities, and consequently there is nothing we can do to prevent earthquakes. For example, Kario (2003) noted,

Earthquakes provide a good example of naturally occurring acute and chronic stress, and in this review we focus mainly on the effects of the Hanshin-Awaji earthquake on the cardiovascular system. The Hanshin-Awaji earthquake resulted in a 3-fold increase of myocardial infarctions in people living close to the epicenter, particularly in women, with most of the increase occurring in nighttime-onset events

Source: Kario KMcEwen BSPickering TG. Disasters and the heart: a review of the effects of earthquake-induced stress on cardiovascular disease. Hypertens Res. 2003 May;26(5):355–67. (

Because earthquake is a natural disaster, not a human engendered event, hence heart disease resulting from being exposed to earthquake is considered as a response to a natural disaster, rather than an “environmental health” problem. The decision here is driven by whether something is “human engendered” or not. The idea being, if you were to be certain that something is “human engendered”, then you can think of mitigating or preventive action to address the resulting health effects. This is important for prevention and has public health consequences.

It may seem that the distinctions are not obvious. For example, natural disasters such as storms and hurricanes result in significant health effects such as infectious diseases and people getting injured, yet we will label health impacts from hurricanes and storms as health effects from natural disasters rather than environmental health issues. But we also know that increased frequency of storms and natural disasters are results of global warming, and global warming is human-engendered or “anthropogenic” (e.g. “What is the link between hurricanes and global warming?”). From this viewpoint, we can argue that health effects resulting from people being exposed to storms and natural disasters are “environmental health” problems, and that if we can reduce global warming, this will affect the frequency of “storms and hurricanes” and in turn will have implications for human health issues resulting from “natural disaster induced health problems”.

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