climate change and sustainability in healthcare

Climate change and sustainability in healthcareDo busy nursing staff really have time to save the planet as well as everything and everyone else? It might sound a herculean task, but small changes to existing habits and routines could save money and improve health outcomes. 

World leaders are meeting in the UK to agree global action on climate change at the UN climate change conference COP26. As Britain’s largest employer, the NHS is responsible for around 4% of our national carbon emissions. The health service has a goal to reduce emissions by 80% by 2028-2032, and to net zero by 2040. So, healthcare staff have a role to play.

Sustainability in healthcare is care that can be delivered in a manner that is conscientious of resources, the disposal of waste, and single-use items. Here we examine ways that nursing professionals can make a big difference.


Greener infection prevention and control: how to take the whole team with you

Award winner’s tips for a successful campaign to reduce PPE use and gain staff support

A woman looks out of the window as she takes the bus to work

NHS will urge nurses to walk or take buses to work as part of its net zero targets

Unions have stressed need to consider cost and staff safety – especially for shift workers

5 simple ways to be a greener nurse – small climate-conscious changes you can make

These easy adjustments to your routine could save energy and cut emissions

Why all nursing students need to learn about advocacy, activism and resistance

A new course teaches nurses to be champions of patients, colleagues and the profession

Effects of climate change on patients with respiratory and cardiovascular conditions

Effects of climate change on patients with respiratory and cardiovascular conditions

Understand the ways climate change can aggravate asthma, COPD and cardiovascular disease

Climate emergency: how nursing students can lead greener practice

How to share your knowledge of greener practice with the whole nursing team


Climate emergency: what can nursing students do to be greener?

Our podcast guests discuss how they are making their university course more sustainable

Gloves off: how to implement greener infection control with one small change

RCN Nursing Award winner Robert Vicente’s tips on cutting waste while maintaining safety

Sustainability Nursing Conference: Dragons’ Den-style contest announced

Competition to take place at event in October, with £1,600 to develop the winning idea

Our part in a greener NHS: we’re making progress, now let’s accelerate it

Nurses see the impact of climate change on health – and we have the power to take action


Simple steps nurses can take to help protect the environment

Actions all healthcare staff can implement to be greener at work and at home

Gloves, water bottles and waste reduction: how you can be greener at work

Simple changes every staff member can make, from virtual meetings to rethinking single-use

Why you should care about climate change and how you can push the agenda

Nurses should come together and share environmentally friendly ideas and resources

Focus on asthma 2: air pollution and its effects on children and young people

Causes of air pollution and how they affect the lung health of children

Climate change is a global issue, but nurses see its effects close-up

Health threats from global warming make the need to end the nurse shortage extra-urgent

Climate change and the NHS: can nurses point the way to a greener future?

RCN calls for ideas on how to reduce healthcare’s carbon footprint

Nurse managers urged to be active in promoting environmental sustainability

The RCN is lobbying healthcare providers to adopt strategies on environmental sustainability

Tackling the growing problem of air pollution and children’s health

Researchers, including nurses, will monitor the effects of low emission initiatives