Career advice

Toolkit will help nursing students tackle climate change

The NurSus toolkit provides an opportunity to integrate sustainability within nursing curricula and help students and qualified nurses to play a part in addressing the challenge of climate change.
climate

The NurSus toolkit provides an opportunity to integrate sustainability within nursing curricula and help students and qualified nurses to play a part in addressing the challenge of climate change

Climate change and sustainability could be embedded in nursing degree curricula thanks to a pioneering scheme involving universities across Europe.

Academics from the University of Plymouth have worked with colleagues from universities in Germany, Spain and the Netherlands to produce a toolkit covering sustainability and its implications for healthcare.

The NurSus toolkit, which includes lectures, activities and other resources, can be used by nursing schools within their own curriculum or accessed online by students and qualified nurses. Future plans include reworking some of the material for use in continuing professional development.

Vital need

Project

...

The NurSus toolkit provides an opportunity to integrate sustainability within nursing curricula and help students and qualified nurses to play a part in addressing the challenge of climate change

climate
The toolkit will help teach students about connections between resources,
climate change, sustainability and health. Picture: iStock

Climate change and sustainability could be embedded in nursing degree curricula thanks to a pioneering scheme involving universities across Europe. 

Academics from the University of Plymouth have worked with colleagues from universities in Germany, Spain and the Netherlands to produce a toolkit covering sustainability and its implications for healthcare. 

The NurSus toolkit, which includes lectures, activities and other resources, can be used by nursing schools within their own curriculum or accessed online by students and qualified nurses. Future plans include reworking some of the material for use in continuing professional development.

Vital need

Project lead Janet Richardson, professor of health service research at the University of Plymouth, says the toolkit meets a vital need: ‘Nurse educators are currently poorly prepared to teach students about the connections between resources, climate change, sustainability and health, and this new toolkit can help change that,’ she says. 

‘As one of the largest professions on the continent, nurses can act as powerful agents for change in the use of health resources. This toolkit – and its unique opportunity to integrate sustainability within nursing curricula – will help nurses and other health professionals face the huge challenge of climate change in healthcare.’ 

A new curriculum will be in place at Plymouth next year, embedding teaching on these issues throughout courses. Students have been involved in the project through an advisory group. ‘The students get it but then go out into practice and say their mentors need it too,’ says Professor Richardson.

Relevant to nursing

She says all the material on the website is evidence-based and has been selected to be relevant to nursing practice: it was key to get over the hurdle that people did not see sustainability issues as relevant to nursing.

As well as ‘helping the planet’, the project can help with other NHS objectives, such as reducing waste and avoiding unnecessary expense. ‘Just reducing clinical waste by one bag per day per ward in all hospitals would have a huge impact,’ she says. 

RCN chief executive Janet Davies attended the launch of the toolkit in Germany. ‘The NurSus toolkit is a fabulous resource for student nurses and also universities and teachers,’ she said. 

‘It will be very useful for the new nursing competencies, and the fact that it's evidence-based gives it the edge over other resources we might see. It has the flexibility to allow us to provide specific packages for specific people, so I am looking forward to working with it.’


Alison Moore is a freelance health writer

For more information go to www.nursus.eu

Want to read more?

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to nursing standard.com and the Nursing Standard app
  • Monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs