All healthcare employees have a role to play in supporting initiatives within their organization to become more environmentally responsible and reduce the impact of climate change. Nurses are emerging as vital leaders in healthcare sustainability and are playing an especially important role in addressing climate change and related health issues.
Gundersen Health System’s (GHS) nursing department received one of two-$10,000 grants awarded by Health Care Without Harm to design and develop programs to help empower its nurses and support their sustainability leadership efforts. Surgical & Digestive Care Unit Nurse Phoebe Breed played a key role in implementing Gundersen’s nursing initiative. “The question we started asking was, ‘what are the things that they’re doing every day that they don’t even realize is contributing to sustainability?’ ” Breed stated.
Gundersen’s nursing leadership program streamlines sustainability education by using existing educational frameworks. Breed said, “Using the preexisting framework as the foundation for this program really resonated with our staff because it was something that was already familiar to them. We identified and implemented resources that already worked with our culture as a communication framework.”
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