National figurehead praises nursing sustainability project

NurSus TOOLKIT European launch in Esslingen, Germany. Pictured are: Confidence Mutandwa, adult nursing student at the University of Plymouth; Janet Richardson, Professor of Health Service Research at the University of Plymouth; Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing; and Hazel Wood, child health nursing student at the University of Plymouth

A leading figure in British nursing has applauded a University of Plymouth project encouraging sustainability in nursing.

Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, praised the NurSus TOOLKIT at its recent European launch in Esslingen, Germany, calling it ‘a fabulous resource for student nurses, universities and teachers’. 

The online platform provides a host of materials to put climate change and sustainability at the heart of healthcare training, and is the outcome of a three-year collaboration between the University of Plymouth and universities in Esslingen (Germany), Jaen (Spain) and Maastricht (the Netherlands), funded by European Union programme Erasmus+.

The toolkit offers free lectures and activities that can be adapted to meet the needs of students studying subjects such as geography, design, nursing, midwifery, environment, public health, and health planning and management.

Davies said: 

“The NurSus TOOLKIT is a fabulous resource for student nurses and also I think the universities and teachers. I think it would be very useful for the new nursing competencies, and the fact that it's evidence-based gives it the edge over other resources that we might see. It is convincing and we need to see how we can actually make it work for qualified staff, for example in continuing professional development. It actually has the flexibility to allow us to provide specific packages for specific people, so I am looking forward to working with it.”

NurSus TOOLKIT

www.nursus.eu

This online platform provides a host of materials to put climate change and sustainability at the heart of healthcare training. 

For example, one exercise asks students to consider how they could continue to deliver healthcare if equipment made from plastic was no longer available. Other activities are designed to make links between staying healthy and caring for the environment.

The toolkit is the outcome of a three-year collaboration between the University of Plymouth and universities in Esslingen (Germany), Jaen (Spain) and Maastricht (the Netherlands), funded by European Union programme Erasmus+.

The European event follows the UK launch at the University of Plymouth in May, and the Esslingen event welcomed guests from as far afield as Australia to try out the material.

It has also received international endorsement, as, following participation in the event, Franz Wagner, President of German Nurses Association DBfK, said: 

“I think nurses are in the perfect position to have a major impact on improving sustainability and sustainability behaviour because they are close to the patient and the patients’ living condition. Here they can see what can be changed, and if they have the knowledge about climate change and sustainability, they can use that and at the same time educate patients and their families about how to change certain patterns of behaviour for a better and more sustainable lifestyle, which would result in better health. 

"The NurSusTOOLKIT is the perfect means to support nurse educators to include pieces of sustainability in nursing education. It is full of resources so you just can use the evidence there, and it contains perfect case study examples. It is interesting and even contains a fun methodology for use in the education of nurses.”

The content of the toolkit is based on evidence from literature, nurse education experts and student groups, and is available in six languages – English, French, Spanish, German, Dutch and Polish.

Project lead Janet Richardson, Professor of Health Service Research at the University of Plymouth, said that the toolkit meets a vital need: 

“Nurse educators are currently poorly prepared to teach students about the connections between resources, climate change, sustainability and health – and this new toolkit can help change that. Nursing is one of the largest professions in the continent; nurses can act as powerful agents for change in the use of health resources. Although climate change is a huge challenge in health care, this new resource – and its unique opportunity to integrate sustainability within nursing curricula – will help nurses and health professionals face it.”

Professor Janet Richardson on the NurSus TOOLKIT:

Climate change is a huge challenge in health care – but this new resource will help nurses and health professionals face it.