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From Florence to fossil fuels: Nursing has always been about environmental health

      Highlights

      • Highlights pivotal nursing contributions to environmental science throughout history, from Florence Nightingale, to science activists in the 60’s and 70’s, to changemakers today
      • Describes the programs of research of leading environmental nursing scientists and how their work has paved the way for future generations of researchers
      • Emphasizes that all nurses must incorporate environmental science and translation into their research and practice; this is especially critical today in the context of urgent threats like climate change, significant racial health disparities, and emerging pathogens like COVID-19.

      Abstract

      Background

      Since its founding, professional nursing has applied an environmental lens to healing.

      Methods

      This CANS 2020 Keynote article describes the history of nursing environmental science and nurses important contributions to the US Environmental Justice Movement. Starting with Florence Nightingale's Notes on Nursing, which established Environmental Theory, the paper introduces key figures throughout nursing history who have studied and advocated for environmental health and justice.

      Findings

      The paper emphasizes that nursing has always been about environmental health and that, regardless of specialty or practice setting, all nurses are called to incorporate environmental science and translation into their research and practice.

      Conclusion

      This call to action is especially critical today in the context of urgent issues like climate change, environmental racism and racial health disparities, emerging infectious diseases like COVID-19, and chemical exposures in the home and workplace (among others).

      Keywords

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