An exploration into nurses’ knowledge and views on environmental issues in healthcare
Climate change has been described as the most important global health threat of this century. There are concerns, worldwide, regarding global warming and the overuse of resources. The healthcare sector has a significant impact on water and electricity use, product consumption and waste management. As a result, it is important for the healthcare sector to address the issues of environmental sustainability. In 2010 the carbon footprint of the NHS, in the UK, was approximately 20 million tonnes of CO2. The NHS produces 5.5kg of waste per patient, per day.
Addressing climate change is important, as it will directly affect public health. Climate change threatens health in a vast number of ways, including increased air pollution, more vector-borne diseases, ecosystem damage, reduced biodiversity, and changes in food, water and sanitation. These factors can lead to increased rates of malnutrition, which is a serious threat to vulnerable populations.
Findings from the literature review clearly indicate gaps in research and there is limited research on this topic. There are no studies testing this theory in relation to practice, and there are concerns over nurses’ knowledge of environmental issues.
Based on the literature review a study is proposed to test the hypothesis that educating nurses in environmental issues will improve environmental sustainability in practice in relation to resource use.
- To identify whether education in environmental issues can assist improving environmental sustainability in practice.