Sustainability & Nurse Education Twitter Chat Details

Should topics about sustainability and climate change be included in the nursing curriculum?

@wenurses twitter chat 24th March 2015 @Nursus_EU

Hosts: NurSusTOOLKIT Project team (Universities of Esslingen, Jaen, Maastricht, Plymouth)

Sustainable development is a concept vital to healthcare: due to its relatively large carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, the use of toxic materials and the production of vast amounts of waste, healthcare is ultimately compromising public health and damaging the ability of future generations to meet their needs. In the EU, the health sector creates at least 5% of total CO2 emissions[KPMG 2012]. Improving energy and resource efficiency, procurement policies and waste management are vital for a more sustainable health sector.  The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report emphasises the risk of climate change to human health; all countries and sectors are at risk and opportunities to reduce impacts and adapt need to be created. Research proposes greater EU leadership in climate change policy that puts peoples’ health first. The Europe 2020 flagship initiative for a resource efficient Europe stresses the need for transition towards using natural resources more efficiently; thus improving energy/resource/cost efficiency in health care for and ageing population (e.g. the EU health strategy).

Limited resources are available to support sustainability in European nursing curricula; nurse educators are poorly prepared to teach students the connections between resources, climate change, sustainability and health. There is no European framework for Sustainability Literacy and Competency (SLC), and no guidelines for sustainability competency or pedagogies. A recent survey of 363 student nurses undertaken by the partners in UK, Spain and Germany highlights the need to embed sustainability in nursing curricula. The importance of education in sustainable development (ESD) was recognised under the U.N. Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014). Recently, the new Global Action Programme on ESD was discussed by UNESCO. This is a unique opportunity for a European project to pioneer sustainability within the nursing curricula. Nurses are agents of change, have a remit to promote health and control the use of health resources; nursing is one of the largest professions in Europe. As Corporate Social responsibility (CSR) is increasingly taken up by healthcare institutions, nurses need knowledge and skills to support this sustainable health care sector transition. Improving the level of key sustainability competencies in nursing will meet this education gap ensuring that nurses are ‘fit for purpose’ to practice in a changing climate. The challenge is to make education for sustainability relevant to nursing, and this can be achieved in a very practical way alongside clinical skills sessions. A European project designed to develop teaching and learning materials will assist in the delivery of a ‘sustainability in nursing’ education agenda.

It could be argued that embedding climate change and sustainability into nursing curricula could have a qualitative impact on how health care is delivered, allowing for a holistic approach to nurses’ training to take non-medical issues into account. However some might suggest that nursing curricula is already too full of content, with little opportunity to integrate what might be seen as some as tangential issues.

Should topics about sustainability and climate change be included in the nursing curriculum?

So what do you think?

What is sustainability?

What topics about sustainability and climate change should / could be included in nursing curricula?

What could you do to promote sustainability in your practice / teaching?

Remember 26th March 2015 is the NHS Sustainability Day


Sustainable development Unit:

Centre for Sustainable Healthcare:

NurSusTOOLKIT Project website:

Plymouth University Sustainability, Society and Health Research:


Nursing Sustainability by Design: Embedding healthcare sustainability in curricula through interdisciplinary learning webinar 10th June 12md – 13:00 GMT:

The Lancet Series on health and climate change:

Goodman, B. (2011) The need for a ‘sustainability’ curriculum in nurse education. Nurse Education Today  31(8): 733-737

Grose J., Richardson J. (2013) Strategies to identify future shortages due to interruptions in the healthcare procurement supply chain: a method from the English National Health Service.  Journal of Health Service Research Policy and Practice.

Grose, J., Richardson, J. (2013) “Managing a sustainable, low carbon supply chain in the English National Health Service: The views of senior managers”, Journal of Health Services Research & Policy, 18(2): 83-89

KPMG (2012). Care in a changing world. Challenges and opportunities for sustainable 5. health care

Nichols A., Maynard V., Goodman B., Richardson J. (2009) Health, Climate Change and Sustainability: A systematic Review and Thematic Analysis of the Literature.

Richardson J., Grose J., Gill JL., Hertel J., Jackson B., Sadeghian H., Kelsey J. (2014). Effect of climate change and resource scarcity on health care. Nursing Standard 28(45):44-49

Richardson J., Grose J., Doman M., Kelsey J. (2104) The use of evidence-informed sustainability scenarios in the nursing curriculum: development and evaluation of teaching methods. Nurse Education Today. 34:490-93

The @NurSus_EU twitter team:

Professor Janet Richardson BSc., PhD., PGCE., RN., DN., CPsychol

Janet Richardson is Professor of Health Service Research in the Faculty of Health, Education and Society at Plymouth University. Janet is a nurse with clinical experience in cancer and supportive care. Following a psychology degree she began to research patients’ views of healthcare, and health service effectiveness. Much of this work focused on engaging staff and users in the development, commissioning and evaluation of services using participatory approaches. She teaches research methods, evidence-based practice, and health and sustainability. Her current research engages healthcare providers in finding solutions to the challenges that climate change and resource depletion could impact on health and healthcare delivery. She leads the Sustainability, Society and Health Research Cluster at Plymouth University, her multi-disciplinary team work on embedding sustainability in healthcare curricula won a Green Gown Award in the 2014 courses and learning category.

Lecturer Manuel Linares Abad. Registered Nurse and Specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology care and medical and surgical care. Bachelor of Social and Cultural Anthropology. PhD from the University of Jaen (Studies of Women and Gender). Manuel Linares is lecturer of the department of Nursing in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Jaen University. Manuel is teaching in Nursing since 1991, before he worked as a nurse and a midwife from the year 1982. In the university he has developed tasks of management as dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences from 2004 until 2012, being a member of the Board of directors of the Deans’ National Conference of Nursing from 2006 to 2012. His lines of research and publications are centred on nursing of the sexual and reproductive health and gender and health. He teaches Nursing of the sexual and reproductive health to undergraduate Nursing students, and gender and health to the student body of different official masters of the University of Jaén.


Hi my name is Joanne Ford, I decided I wanted to be a nurse years ago when a very close family member of mine suffered a life changing stroke, this family member being my father, I am incredibly grateful for all the medical profession did for him to make sure he still could reach his maximum potential in life, although life has changed, not only for him but for all of the family we have all adjusted, and I could not imagine life without caring now! I would love to give back to all those who gave so much to my family. To think that I could do for others what those nurses did for my dad makes me incredibly proud! I want to give back all they gave to us, and without sustainability of compounds such as oils and plastics I don’t think we would be where we are today with him as these compounds make up some of the wonderful life saving equipment  used in every day medical industry, such as gloves, oxygen masks, feeding tubes etc…

My name is Rebecca Palmer. I’m a student nurse at @plymuni, 3 years from now I’ll be a dedicated nurse working hard for a better world & better health. Together we’re a better tomorrow.

My name is Clare Eccles and I am a first year BSc Adult Nursing student at Plymouth University. Nursing has been something I have aspired to ‘do’ from my earliest memories. I am Mum to four sons aged between seventeen and six! I completed ¾ of my training in the mid nineties at King’s College London; sustainability in Nursing was unheard of at that time or simply not a part of our training or education. The issues around sustainability were brought into stark focus after listening to one of my first lectures at Plymouth University, delivered by Professor Janet Richardson. I left feeling that as Nurses we can no longer avoid the issues around sustainability if we are to truly care for our Patients. I believe passionately that we cannot ignore our responsibility to make positive contributions towards a more sustainable health care provision, in our daily practice.

Soy José Felix Paulano Martínez nacido en Jaén, desde pequeño siempre me llamó la atención la profesión de enfermería que su principal objetivo es el arte para cuidar a las personas. Soy de la Segunda Promoción de Grado de la Universidad de Jaén. Por sostenibilidad ambiental ante el cambio climático entiendo que es la administración eficiente y racional de los bienes y servicios ambientales, de manera que sea posible el bienestar de la población actual, garantizando el acceso a éstos por los sectores más vulnerables, y evitando comprometer la satisfacción de las necesidades básicas y la calidad de vida de las generaciones futuras, algo que me parece fundamental implantarlo en los jóvenes a mi modo de ver. Es por ello por lo que deberían los estudiantes conocerlo desde pequeños su importancia y la relación que tiene con la mejora de salud y calidad de vida para un futuro más sostenible.


@LittlePink_3. Mi nombre es Cristina Garcia-Laez Camacho soy estudiante de 2°de enfermería en la Universidad de Jaén y técnica superior en Dietética y nutrición. Siempre he tenido vocación pero la descubrí gracias al apoyo de dos enfermeras que dedicaron tiempo en mí y que me animaron a entrar en su mundo que ahora es mi mundo también. Como nutricionista también aprendí a identificar los recursos que nuestro entorno nos ofrece y con ello valorar el medio que nos rodea, integrando en mi, además del cuidado del ser humano, el cuidado de nuestra tierra siendo igual de importante, ya que promocionar como enfermeros el cuidado de nuestro entorno también es salud comunitaria.

Mi nombre es María Ruiz Zambrana, nací en Úbeda y tengo 23 años. Soy estudiante de segundo de Grado de Enfermería de la Universidad de Jaén y técnica superior en Laboratorio de Análisis Clínico e Imagen para el Diagnóstico. Desde pequeña, antes incluso de ser capaz de escribir mi nombre, supe que quería dedicarme a una disciplina tan gratificante e interesante como es Enfermería. Me gusta ayudar a las personas, empatía es una de mis cualidades favoritas y cuidar es mi verbo de referencia. Considero que para el desempeño de nuestra profesión es imprescindible una visión holística, que incorpora como una de sus piezas claves el medio ambiente que nos rodea. Por ello, una actuación enfermera orientada al conocimiento, conservación, valoración y defensa de los recursos que el mismo nos ofrece es de gran ayuda para una adecuada promoción de la salud de la actual generación y las futuras. @lmnaps.

Mi nombre es José Luis Jiménez Laínez, tengo 20 años y estudio segundo de enfermería en la universidad de Jaén. ¿Por qué enfermería?

Simple, enfermería y sus profesionales son agentes de cambio que tienen en sus manos mejorar la calidad de vida de las personas mediante:

  • Resolución de problemas biopsicosociales.
  • Empoderación de la persona dotándole de estrategias y herramientas para su día a dia.
  • Educación y concienciación.

Y es desde esta labor educativa desde donde podemos abordar la inserción de la sostenibilidad en el curriculum de enfermería. Ya que los efectos colaterales del cambio climático sobre la salud pueden ser devastadores en los colectivos de riesgo. Del mismo modo, la sostenibilidad en los centros hospitalarios debe ser objeto de estudio para la mejora del propio sistema sanitario y del medio ambiente.

Por eso, hoy en día un proyecto como #Nursus_EU es más necesario que nunca.

@JLCastilloGalan Mi nombre es José Luis Castillo Galán y soy estudiante de 2º curso del Grado de Enfermería en la Universidad de Jaén. Nunca tuve claro qué estudiar en la universidad, incluso antes de enfermería probé otras carreras, pero siempre me ha gustado ayudar a los demás y una chica con la que estuve saliendo me enseñó el camino enfermero, camino del que me he dado cuenta que para mi es el más correcto, ya que me encanta. Para mi la sostenibilidad es de gran importancia en el campo de la enfermería, debido a que el medio ambiente y todo aquello que engloba a la persona va a afectar a ésta y por lo tanto a su salud. Por lo tanto es fundamental actuar sobre ello, como medida primaria, para así mejorar la salud tanto de nuestros pacientes como las de el resto de personas que viven en el mundo.

Hola, me llamo Mar Quiros Solas, tengo 46 años y estudio 3º curso del Grado de Enfermería en la Universidad de Jaén. Comencé mis estudios porque siempre me gustó cuidar a los demás. Desde pequeña ya quería ser enfermera y observaba con fijación como aquel practicante preparaba el material para inyectar a mi abuelo. ¿Por qué ahora? Porque ahora me he atrevido a comenzar estos estudios que suponen tanto sacrificio.

Sobre la sostenibilidad, decir que siempre he pensado que con un poco esfuerzo por parte de cada uno es posible que este pequeño planeta nuestro pueda llegar en condiciones favorables a futuras generaciones. En mi experiencia como Scout aprendí que se puede “dejar el mundo mejor que lo encontramos” (Baden Powell). Por tanto, considero que cuidando nuestro medioambiente mejoraremos la salud de los demás y de futuras generaciones. Otra manera de cuidar a los otros a largo plazo.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.