Integrating Environmental Health into an Undergraduate Community Health Nursing Course


  • Nancy M. Sweeney, D.N.Sc., is Assistant Professor, San Diego State University, School of Nursing, San Diego, California. Ann de Peyster, Ph.D., is Interim Director and Professor, San Diego State University, Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego, California.

* Nancy M. Sweeney, San Diego State University, School of Nursing, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA, 92182-4158. E-mail:


Abstract  Nurses are often the first members of the healthcare system to whom the public turns when environmental health hazards cause concern. Yet most nursing programs include scant formal environmental health content. This article describes a project that integrated significant environmental health content into an undergraduate community health nursing course. The revised course included additional environmental health classroom content and field experiences. Details are provided regarding changes to classroom content, revision of written assignments to include environmental health issues, planning and implementation of nursing student field experiences with environmental health professionals, and evaluations of the revised course. The article concludes with three recommendations to guide other schools of nursing, wishing to integrate environmental health into their curricula.