Date of Graduation

Summer 8-12-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


School of Nursing and Health Professions


Population Health Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Francine Serafin-Dickson

Second Advisor

Dr. Barbara Sattler


Background: Globally, adverse health effects, including deaths and disabilities, occur from living or working in unhealthy domains where exposure to environmental and occupational hazards exists. A multitude of these hazards are present in clinical settings in the healthcare environment where nurses care for patients and risk ongoing exposures to toxic substances.

Problem: Environmental and occupational health education is rarely included in the standard undergraduate nursing curriculum, contributing to a deficit among nurses in environmental health awareness and knowledge.

Methods: The study design was a pre/post evaluation of a single cohort (n=32) of undergraduate nursing students to assess environmental and occupational health awareness and knowledge after participating in an educational intervention. Knowledge acquisition was the outcome measure used to indicate the effectiveness of the intervention. Data analysis was performed in Qualtrics.

Intervention: The intervention was a self-paced, interactive online educational module on environmental and occupational health risks, with a virtual reality of a simulated patient’s room, supplemented with content and resources for extended learning. The virtual reality activity took students into a simulated hospital patient room in two separate visits, where they encountered exposures to occupational hazards.

Results: Correct answers to the nine content questions increased by 156% (mean) and 52% (median) from pre- to post-evaluation. The range of increase in correct answers for seven questions ranged from 32% to 1100%. Correct answers to two questions decreased by 6% and 14%. Qualitative results indicated greater engagement and satisfaction when participants compared their experiences with conventional classroom and textbook learning.

Keywords: ADN-BSN, education, environmental, hazard, nurse, occupational

Included in

Nursing Commons