Master of Public Health
Health Services Research & Administration
First Committee Member
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
Background: Eighty five percent of Nebraskans rely heavily on groundwater sources, including private wells, as their primary source of drinking water. Nitrate is one of the most common chemicals found in private well water. Numerous studies demonstrated the serious human health consequences from prolonged nitrate exposure. Therefore, due to the potential health risks, this project aimed to identify and evaluate the existing knowledge and awareness among healthcare providers as well as the educational materials in medical clinics in Nebraska related to health effects of drinking nitrate contaminated water.
Methods: An 8 multiple choice question survey was developed using Microsoft Forms. The survey was disseminated to healthcare providers in medical clinics located in several counties of Nebraska with high nitrate contaminated waters. Respondents completed the survey electronically through a unique weblink as well as in-person meetings. All responses were stored in the Microsoft Forms database. Later, analytical functions were used to perform quantitative analysis.
Results and Findings: Four key findings resulted from the survey and its analysis.
1. The majority of health care providers (63%) have had no to very little formal education or training on the adverse health consequences of drinking nitrate contaminated water.
2. Currently, many providers (63%) do not have access to any educational materials regarding adverse health consequences of drinking nitrate contaminated water.
3. The top educational materials health care providers requested to educate themselves were educational videos and continuing education credits.
4. The top educational materials health care providers requested to educate their patients were brochures, flyers, and posters.
Conclusion: Many health care providers have no-to-little formal training or education on the adverse health consequences of drinking nitrate contaminated water. Additionally, providers reported not having access to educational materials regarding the health consequences of drinking nitrate contaminated water. Based on our assessment, educational materials for clinics are needed in the locations surveyed. To increase education and awareness, we suggest offering health care providers educational videos and continuing education credits on hazards and dangers of nitrate in drinking water. To help providers better educate their patients, we suggest the development of brochures, flyers and posters on health concerns of nitrate in drinking water. Because of limitations in the sample size, we recommended expanding the survey to include more questions and surveying medical clinics across the entire state to draw more representative conclusions. By evaluating the needs of health care workers on water quality related health issues, we can help with future education and outreach efforts to reduce health impacts associated with consuming nitrate contaminated water.
Nagengast, Laura, "A Survey and Analysis of Educational Materials Addressing the Health Consequences of Drinking Nitrate Contaminated Water in Medical Clinics Located in the Most At-Risk Areas of Nebraska: Are Healthcare Providers Equipped to Protect and Educate Their Patients?" (2022). Capstone Experience. 196.