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The issue of health has become a major concern not just for individuals, but also for families, communities, societies and nations in general. This is because the effects of failing health of an individual create ripples all the way up to the state as a whole. Productivity of a society, be it economic, political, social or psychological, depends on the productivity of the members of the community. Health, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), is being in a complete state of physical, social and mental well being. This is not necessarily the absence of disease .The aspect of health as it concerns collective entities in society, including the factors that are created by the surroundings, is broadly categorized as environment health. WHO defines the Environmental Health as a summary of health factors determined by physical, chemical, social, biological and psychological elements of the society. In light of this, the study of the environmental influences on overall health is an issue of central concern. This paper will candidly look at the ways in which public health nurses are working to combat and reduce the bed bug infestations among vulnerable populations in Toronto.
Canadian Nurses Association (C.N.A)
The Canadian Nurses Association is a federation of registered nurses and nurse practitioners in Canada. It has originated in 1908 and currently has 143,843 registered nurses. According to the association’s website, their mission is to improve health in a public funded, non- profit making health system. Its mission is to unite, promote and strengthen nurses, as well as advocate for public health and serve public interest. In the recent months, registered nurses from the CAN have been absorbed into the Toronto Bedbug project initiative to aid in the control of the pest population. This is done through public awareness campaigns, participatory community work, such as on site victim examination, and other homecare services (Boswell, 2011).
The Nightingale Theory
The nightingale theory is a nursing theory founded and popularized by the English nurse and writer Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) (Jewell, 2009). Her work pioneered several elements in the nursing profession, especially, the view of nursing as a science and, therefore, the need for trained nurses, the distinction between nursing and medical care, the advocacy of natural conditions as elements of healing, and the effect of care on health restoration. Most of her methods have been adopted universally in nursing and healthcare facilities. There is a linkage between Nightingale’s theory and the Canadian Nurses Association approach to environmental health discussed below. There are two main categories on similarity. The first one regards the approaches of fulfilling the environmental health objectives. The second one is with regard to the particular elements of focus of both, the C.N.A and Nightingale (Marcarian & Reid, 1996).
Comparison of the Different Approaches to Environmental Health
Focus on education for nurses
The Canadian Nurses Association holds a primary role in ensuring that nurses are adequately trained to perform their duties. According to the CAN website, the association is responsible for nurse certification, registration and licensure examination .Similarly, the Nightingale theory is in full support of nurse education, as a nursing school, the Nightingale School for Nurses, was established in 1860 in London (Boswell, 2011).
Focus on environmental factors
The CAN believes in assessing the environment for health hazards as a precautionary measure and guide for health protection. The Nightingale theory also recognizes the need for environmental concern as a major contributor to sustained health.
Provision of care
The CAN has the development and implementation of school-based and work-based wellness programs as one of its key strategies. These care facilities not only sensitize people about health issues, but also care for those affected . Similarly, Nightingale, after who the nightingale theory is named, believed in care so much that she visited wounded soldiers during the Crimean War. She was nicknamed the ‘lady with the lamp’ due to her nighttime visits to the wounded (Jewell, 2009).
Recognition of nursing as separate from medicine/drug administration in health restoration
The Canadian Nurses association focuses on creating awareness in the public regarding health issues as a means to promote health. It advocates for safe and sustainable environment, precautionary measures and sound scientific proof of routines and procedures employed in public health. The Nightingale principles of nursing similarly focused on proper care and provision of natural healing environment as an alternative to drug use.
Comparison of the Major Elements of Focus on Environmental Health between the CAN and the Nightingale Theory
There are similarities regarding the areas of focus in environmental health between the CAN and the nightingale theory. The section below will discuss them.
Both the CAN and Nightingale stipulate that the air should be clean and pure. The CAN, for instance, notes that smog is one of the most common air pollution evidences in Canada. It cites both, inhalable and fine particles, as well as sulfur, ammonia and nitrogen compounds presence in the atmosphere (Jewell, 2009). Similarly, Nightingale observed the need for clean air as a necessary condition for healing.
CNA emphasizes the need for clean housing. Nightingale refers to the same as living in clean rooms and maintaining clean walls. It is, therefore, clear that both approaches are keen to the living quarters.
Adequate clean water
In 2007, CNA alerted population living in Toronto of possible leakage of lead into the supply water, as a result of old pipes leakage. It has sensitized people on need to avoid cooking with or drinking water from hot taps to reduce lead intake. Similarly, Nightingale pushed for the availability of clean water for the sick during recovery process (Fitzpatrick, 1999).
CAN lists noise alongside other environmental health issues, such as road safety, waste disposal and home life quality. This is similar to the Nightingale’s requirement of quietness, as a necessary condition for recovery.
Advice and hope
What Nightingale school referred to as giving hope and advice, the Canadian Nurses Association may cater for by establishing wellness centers and home care facilities. One core function of these facilities is to enhance wellbeing through counseling and encouragement. There are also extensive programs for the home nursing care given to special members of the public who are affected by disease.
How the CNA's Approach to the Bedbug problem in Toronto, Canada is related to the Nightingale’s theory
Toronto, the official economic and political capital of Canada, has recently experienced such increase in bedbug population and bites that the government has identified certain populations in Toronto as being endangered. The city has a population of more than 2.7 Million people (Boswell, 2011). Recently, a budget of $ 255,000 has been accepted by the city’s Budget committee to hire three public nurses in the fight to combat the bedbug menace. The following are procedures adopted in the struggle to control the bedbug in endangered populations in Toronto.
Procedures Used in Bedbug Control
Public awareness campaigns
According to the official website of Toronto city, public health officials can hold public seminars to educate people on bedbug control (Boswell, 2011). This is in line with the Nightingale’s policy on creating public awareness as a way to improve environmental health. The Canadian Nurses Association also holds awareness seminars and other initiatives, e.g. the wellness programs, in schools and workplaces.
The officials or nurses are in some cases expected to make on-site visits (Boswell, 2011). During such visits, they may attend to affected members of the public, and also assess the risks of spread and formulate possible control measures. This so closely rhymes with the famous ‘lady with the lamp’ rounds done by Florence Nightingale during her service to army officers injured in the Crimean War. The Canadian Nurses Association is also concerned with community policing, they take part in public areas cleaning and home care projects.
Advocating for and aiding in environmental cleanliness initiatives
The public health initiative has formulated procedures for property owners and tenants to help to control the spread of bedbugs. The Nightingale procedure also included home hygiene as a procedure for environmental health improvement. Similarly, the Canadian Nurses Association emphasizes control of the living environments to ensure they are conducive for healthy living.
Creating awareness concerning personal hygiene as a way to discourage pest infestations
Even though bed bugs rarely live in clothes or on the body and prefer instead to live in dark areas and crevices, unclean persons are more likely to get affected by the pests than hygienic people, partly due to the fact that there can be no environmental hygiene if the people in that environment are unclean. Cases are cited where most bedbug bites are experienced in public places, where there are many people of different hygiene backgrounds (Boswell, 2011).
From the case study above, one can see the great need of healthy living among communities not only in Canada, but also in the rest of the world. By sensitizing the communities on the need to live in clean areas and acquire decent housing among other notable measures, the C.N.A has significantly reduce bedbug infections of the most venerable communities in Toronto. This has upgraded their standards of living, thus, allowing them to effectively contribute to Canadian economy.
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