FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contact: Eileen Secrest
May 12, 2011 540-479-0168
On International Nurses Day, Health Care Without Harm Salutes Nurses Around the World
(Washington, DC) International Nurses Day is an opportunity to learn about the work of nurses and their contribution to improving environmental health. This year, Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) is proud to celebrate the fantastic work that nurses are doing around the globe.
Nurses serve their communities in different ways. The most familiar one is working in a health care facility. But in recent years nurses have rediscovered their profession’s traditional environmental health roots.
“Nurses have always been in the forefront of our work to bring together the issue of health and environment” said Faye Ferrer, mercury coordinator for HCWH, SE Asia.
“Every day, nurses are tasked with the noble duty of healing the sick—ensuring patients’ comfort, facilitating their fast recovery and making sure that they are well taken care of,” said Ferrer. “The nurse’s healing ability for the sick gives them the ability to understand and do more in the field of environmental health protection."
“Nurses understand the importance of clean air, clean water, good food and a safe working environment as crucial to health,” said Brenda M Afzal, MS, RN, HCWH’s U.S. Climate Policy Coordinator. “We see from our positions in hospitals, schools, and communities that environmental exposures can disproportionately affect vulnerable populations and add to health disparities. As nurses we also understand that disease prevention is part of our role.”
“Nurses’ particular activities and practices, as well as their dedication and passion for helping others makes them leaders in working for healthier toxic-free, environments,” says Dr. María Della Rodolfa, Health Care Without Harm’s Latin America Program Coordinator. “In Latin America, nurses are the leading actors proposing initiatives that seek to promote green practices that do no harm to people and the environment.”
“Nurses' experiences with patients are invaluable. They create healing environments for patients by improving air quality, noise, light and of course that irreplaceable human interaction” said Anja Leetz, Health Care Without Harm Europe Executive Director. “In Europe we need the nursing profession to drive change and be a role model by making health care safe for both people and the environment."
Nurses are not just concerned; many times they are simply outraged by the lack of attention being paid to the grave environmental health threats that we are all facing. It is this concern and energy that is creating an exceptional voice for change in the environmental health arena.
Health Care Without Harm is committed to working in collaboration with nurses across the globe to promote healthier environments for all. A number of profiles of nurses have been collected and placed on the nurse Luminary Project website, www.theluminaryproject.org. The Luminary Project is a collaboration of the Nurses Work Group of Health Care Without Harm, and the nurses and nursing organizations who are the Guiding Lights and Beacons for this Project.
Health Care Without Harm is a global coalition of more than 490 organizations in 52 countries working to promote an environmentally healthy and sustainable health care sector. For more information on HCWH and its international work, see www.noharm.org.