Climate Action Nurses
July Edition 2023
Climate Action Nurses
We Are Thrilled To Share Some Fantastic News With All Of You
Our brand-new website, thoughtfully designed by Sarah from Miss Creative Design Studio to align perfectly with our fresh branding and logo, is now live! A big thank you goes out to all the members who actively participated in the logo design process – this logo represents our collective choices and embodies the spirit of our organisation. CHECK OUR WEBSITE OUT HERE
We Focus On Health Innovation
Celebrating and sharing the remarkable innovation nurses are driving in their workplaces in sustainability and responding to climate change.
Acknowledgment to Country
As we move forward in our efforts to protect and preserve our planet, it is essential that we acknowledge the critical role played by the First Nations communities in the stewardship of our climate and environment. Across generations, First Nations communities have thrived in harmony with nature, drawing upon their profound understanding of the land and resources for sustenance. First Nations practices embody an unwavering commitment to the preservation of our planet. We pay respect to this relationship and must work hand-in-hand to preserve and regenerate our environment.
Meet The Editor
Message for Dr Aletha Ward, Climate Action Nurses President.
Welcome to the Climate Action Nurses Zine on Nursing Innovation in Planetary Health. We have revamped our format to improve accessibility across devices based on your feedback. In this Zine, we explore the role that nurses play in advancing planetary health and the innovative solutions nurses are leading.
Nurses possess a unique perspective, witnessing the direct impact of environmental factors on the health of our communities. This Zine features articles, interviews, and stories that highlight nursing innovation in planetary health, from the tertiary to primary healthcare settings.
Our goal is to inspire and educate nurses and healthcare professionals to take action in promoting planetary health. Nursing innovation is vital for a sustainable future. As we proudly highlight the impact of nurses in this field, we hope it informs and inspires you.
Dr Aletha Ward
President - Climate Action Nurses
PhD., MBA., BNurs., R.N., gAICD. mACN. mAPNA..
Meet The Team
On June 13th, we held an online assembly for Climate Action Nurses members. Our passionate members showed strong attendance, displaying a desire to exchange information and collaborate for climate action. We reviewed our progress in the past six months and emphasised the need to consolidate efforts and provide support to enhance our achievements.
During our ‘deep listening’ session, we acknowledge the importance of empowering you as leaders and as key speakers, utilising our extensive network to propel you forward into climate action. We also reflected on the significance of honouring and embracing First Nations wisdom.
As we prepare to launch our portal, we will announce the date for our next assembly meeting soon
New Student Advisory Chapter
Introducing the New Climate Action Nurses Student Advisory Chapter!
Led by dedicated student Kirk Dorries, this initiative aims to empower and educate student nurses in planetary health. The chapter will actively contribute to our four pillars and all CAN projects. We invite nursing students who share our concern for the planet’s well-being to join this impactful movement. Together, we can amplify our voices, drive meaningful change and prioritise climate action in healthcare.
To get involved, email [email protected]
Call To Action
Climate and Health Day of Action on August 8th in Canberra. Independent Senator Pocock is spearheading this initiative and has an open letter, gathering signatures from various stakeholders, to present to the government. We aim to demonstrate the gravity of their climate and health policy decisions by obtaining as many nursing signatures as possible. We urge each one of you to sign this Open letter and, if you're in Canberra on the 8th, to show your support in person.
Sustainability in Healthcare Tips
By Dr. Aletha Ward.
1. Reduce the use of disposable items such as plastic cups, straws, and utensils. Encourage patients and staff to bring their own reusable water bottles and containers for food.
2. Implement a recycling program for paper, plastic, and glass items.
3. Turn off lights and electrical equipment when not in use to conserve energy.
4. Use electronic medical records to reduce paper waste.
5. Encourage patients to use public transportation, carpool, or bike to their appointments.
6. Educate patients and their families about the importance of sustainability and how they can make small changes to reduce their environmental impact.
7. Purchase or advocate for the purchase of environmentally friendly medical supplies and equipment.
8. Encourage the hospital administration to invest in renewable energy sources such as solar panels and wind turbines.
9. Participate in sustainability committees and initiatives within the hospital to promote a culture of sustainability.
10. Think before opening consumables - can you undertake the task with less consumables?
SUSTAINABILITY AT THE HEALTH CARE COAL FACE.
Anne Watts is the Nurse Unit Manager for the Spinal Unit at Fiona Stanley Hospital. She has over 30 years of experience working with people with spinal cord injuries and is responsible for the coordination of patient care, ward management and leadership of the nursing team.
Internationally, as we face complex and urgent sustainability challenges, environmental sustainability initiatives must be applied to all levels of human activity. Healthcare has evolved to be a significant contributor to greenhouse emissions. Recognising this, many high-level sustainability plans have been developed internationally, nationally and locally to address the issue. At the coalface of healthcare, the initiatives and recommendations found in these documents have not been given priority due to:
Limited human resources dedicated to sustainability at the ward level
Lack of staff knowledge regarding the impact of current practices
Trial of new products is time consuming and requires multiple approvals
Sustainable products are often more expensive
Complicated workflows are often required to enact change
The Spinal Ward (1A) at Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) in Perth, Western Australia is a 34-bed unit which provides inpatient services for people who sustain traumatic and non- traumatic spinal cord injuries (SCI) and for long term complications related to SCI. Like many inpatient areas it is a high consumer of single use products and thus high levels of plastic waste going to landfill. It is also a high use area for energy, water, pharmaceuticals and linen. In 2018, a sustainability group was established on Ward 1A to identify practical sustainability initiatives which could be championed by frontline staff and incorporated into routine work practices.
As with many other projects, the COVID pandemic interrupted progress and consumed much time and energy and the focus on sustainability was lost for some time.
Post the pandemic, Ward 1A recognised its true potential to enact change after data was provided regarding the use of ‘blueys’ in individual units within the South Metropolitan Health Service (SMHS) which showed Ward 1A was the second biggest user of blueys within the organisation (Blueys are plastic backed absorbent sheets used widely in healthcare, but they cannot be recycled and the plastic in them takes decades to break down in landfill). When SMHS launched the ‘Think Before you Bluey’ campaign in 2022, Ward 1A seized the opportunity to minimise bluey use through a range of strategies and has achieved and maintained a 56% reduction in usage on the ward. This demonstrated that staff could have a big impact on sustainability initiatives at a ward level, so a new year’s resolution for 2023 was made to once again put sustainability practices and initiatives high on its list of priorities.
A flexible, action-focused, and incremental approach was taken to introducing sustainability thinking on the ward through the implementation of a weekly sustainability huddle. The huddle has been the key factor in improving communication about and compliance with sustainability initiatives. The huddles enabled staff to:
Have dedicated time to discuss sustainability ideas and make decisions as a team
Determine how initiatives can be implemented into everyday practice
See the positive outcomes and receive acknowledgement for their efforts
Stay informed about organisation-wide initiatives
Provide feedback regarding implementation of trials for sustainable products
As the weeks went by, the amount of information and ideas exceeded the short time allocated for the huddle and it was difficult to keep track of all the ideas presented and their progress. The Sustainability Tree was developed (see video) to provide a constant visual reminder of the great achievements made by staff and allow them to generate new ideas as they arose, rather than wait for the weekly huddle.
The colour of each leaf indicates where the project is at in its development. Red is an idea that has not been actioned, orange is a project which is currently in progress and green is for a finished project. The table below lists the initiatives which are aligned with the ten goals of the South Metropolitan Health Service Environmental Sustainability Framework.
Providing dedicated time to focus specifically on sustainability in a weekly huddle has empowered staff to speak up, contribute ideas and embrace positive changes. It has encouraged a culture of collective action, sharing of ideas and allowed the team to prioritise sustainability initiatives and efforts. While there is a place for high level strategy and plans, harnessing the enthusiasm and capacity of frontline staff can make a significant contribution to our organisation’s sustainability objectives.
Book & Doc Review
Humanity’s moment: Joelle Gergis
A thought-provoking and insightful read that explores the intersection of climate change and humanity. This book provides nurses with a profound understanding of the urgent environmental challenges we face and the role they can play in shaping a sustainable future.
Whats The Evidence
This article stresses the importance of integrating environmental sustainability and climate change education in nurse education, emphasising the urgent need for nurses to understand the intersection between climate and health. It advocates for key competencies and pedagogical strategies, highlighting the role of nurses as agents of change in promoting environmental health.
Support Climate Action Nurses: Fuelling Change For A Health Planet.
Support Climate Action Nurses: Fuel change for a healthier planet
Help us make a lasting impact on global health and climate change. Your donation fuels sustainable healthcare, advocates for climate justice , enhances disaster preparedness and fosters research and innovation.
Donate today at:
Together we can make a difference.#SupportCAN #ClimateActionNurses #HealthForAll #SustainabilityMatters
Volunteer With CAN!
Are you passionate about Climate Action? Joining Climate Action Nurses and make an impact. As a CAN volunteer, you will develop your skills, knowledge and networks, working on projects with like minded people. We need volunteers in:
Powerpoint design and content creation.
Engagement and communication.
We Focus Nursing Education in the Anthropocene
Climate Action Nurses are thrilled to announce the release of the next edition of our zine, dedicated to exploring the vital topic of "Nursing Education in the Anthropocene." In this edition, we delve into the intersection of nursing education and the era of significant environmental change we find ourselves in.
📢 Calling All Climate Action Nurses! Introducing the Next Edition of our Zine: "Nursing Education in the Anthropocene" 🌍📚
We are thrilled to announce the upcoming release of the next edition of our zine, dedicated to exploring the vital topic of "Nursing Education in the Anthropocene." In this edition, we delve into the intersection of nursing education and the era of significant environmental change we find ourselves in.
As nurses, we understand the urgent need to equip ourselves with the knowledge, skills, and perspectives necessary to address the complex challenges posed by the Anthropocene. This edition of our zine is dedicated to shedding light on the role of nursing education in fostering climate-conscious healthcare professionals and shaping the future of our profession.
📖 How can you contribute?
Share your expertise, experiences, and insights - we welcome articles, opinion pieces, case studies, interviews, artwork, and more. This is an opportunity to showcase your innovative ideas and inspire fellow nurses.
🗓️ Important Dates:
Submission Deadline: 30 September 2023
Email [email protected] for submission guidelines and to learn more about the submission process.