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New network launched to help UK nurses and students be ‘green’

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A new UK network to help nurses to become more environmentally sustainable has been launched this week.

The Green Nurse Network is now available for both students and practising nurses to consult and keep up-to-date with the best sustainable nursing practice, said those behind the project.

“This is a great next step on the road to developing future-proofed nursing practice”

Rebecca Gibbs

The resource has been developed over the last two years by the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare in Oxford, in collaboration with Plymouth University, the Royal College of Nursing and charity Medact.

They said the new network, launched on Wednesday, offered a range of activities to support the development of sustainable nursing practice.

Among its five stated aims, the network is designed to be an “empowerment tool” for nurses developing sustainable nursing practice and connect “like-minded nurses” and enable them to share best practice, collaborate on project ideas and build stronger relationships with one another.

In addition, it will keep members informed on issues and insight in sustainable nursing, as well as hopefully inspiring “innovative thinking and problem solving”, said its developers.

“I hope this initiative is just the start of a journey of discovery for our nursing workforce”

Janet Davies

It will also host resources – such as evidence, opinion and discussions – and structure these items in a systematic way, and provide a central hub for the sustainable nursing practice programme.

The creation of the network follows the recent official launch of Plymouth University’s European nurse education sustainability initiative – the NurSus TOOLKIT.

A collection of research-led resources, the toolkit is designed to help nurses and health professionals throughout Europe embed sustainability into their teaching and learning.

Janet Richardson, professor of health service research at Plymouth, led on NurSus and the university’s part in setting up the Green Nurses Network.

“With the work we’ve been doing at the university across the continent, we were so pleased to be involved in this UK network and help to further promote sustainability in nursing,” she said.

Rebecca Gibbs, a sustainable specialist at the Centre of Sustainable Healthcare, said: “This is a great next step on the road to developing future-proofed nursing practice. I’m looking forward to working with colleagues to develop approaches to care that work for patients and the planet.”

Meanwhile, Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, said: “This is an initiative which addresses an issue which is important and critical for all of us.

janet davies

janet davies

Janet Davies

“I’m delighted that we now have a way for nurses who are taking the risks to health from climate change seriously to co-operate and share best practice,” said Ms Davies.

“The Royal College of Nursing is committed to supporting nurses, students, and nurse educators to develop sustainable approaches to clinical practice and to provide excellent prevention and care to patients suffering as a result of heat waves and floods,” she said.

She added: “I hope this initiative is just the start of a journey of discovery for our nursing workforce, one that tangibly demonstrates the power that each and every nurse has to make our health and care system truly sustainable.”

To help ‘kick-start’ the forum, it has asked to hear from nurses about:

Centre for Sustainable Healthcare

New network launched to help UK nurses and students be ‘green’

1. Your green nursing – steps that you’ve taken on:

  • prevention
  • protecting patients or the public from the health effects of climate change
  • reducing resource use in your practice
  • changing patient pathways for leaner care

2. Peer-reviewed and grey literature and resources on nursing and sustainability that you’ve come across

3. and to re-tweet launch the network’s messages from either @greennurse or @susHealthcare


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