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"greener" health care?????

Nurses   (1,040 Views 8 Comments)
by jaquelynne jaquelynne (Member)

1,267 Profile Views; 19 Posts

Has anyone thought about how bad the effects of health care can be in terms of public health and sustainability for the environment?

It seems everthing we do as nurses has a cost and impact further on down the road!

I have done a bit of research on the impact of nursing on public health and the environment, and there are some very significant impacts. I have focussed on medications and the environment, and health care waste. I'm not sure if this is allowed here, but I have also built a website regarding these issues.....please feel free to take a look and tell me what you think. (This is just a hobby trying to improve practice, not a business or anything)

http://www.environmentalnursing.bravehost.com/

The best part: I have been invited to help change practice in my health authority!

What about you guys......

Does anyone at your workplace advocate for changes that are more environmentally friendly? Do you have a "granola nurse" like me on your unit? What do they/you do?

Is anyone still wasting meds down the sink?

Do you keep reducing waste in mind when performing proceedures?

When assisting with patient care, are you mindful of trying to help reduce the amounts of personal care products used?

Has your workplace done anything to conserve energy?

Create a healthier work environment?

How much do you do at home to make things "greener"?

Thanks for your thoughts!

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183 Posts; 3,273 Profile Views

If you approach a task w/ the mindset to minimize waste. Then you have accomplished a Greener enviroment. Almost, all medical supplies are Nuked during packaging.

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260 Posts; 3,308 Profile Views

In my opinion, the best thing you can do to promote "greener healthcare" is to take care of your own health and save your community the cost of educating your replacement when you are unable to work because you have damaged your own health. Be aware of studies that have shown that driving an automobile while sleep-deprived can be more dangerous than driving while under the influence of alcohol. Avoid self-inflicted diseases that result from unwise diet and spare the taxpayers having to enlarge the system to take care of someone who should have known better than to risk diabetes, heart disease, or any of a number of communicable diseases that can be prevented by careful attention to good nursing techniques.

To paraphrase an old cliche: "Charity begins at home."

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42 Posts; 1,315 Profile Views

I work night shift in a county run LTC facility, I try to turn off all the unwatched room TV's, the extra lights, the drippy faucets. If a faucet is drippy I make sure a maintenance slip is filled out for it to be fixed. Lights on in rooms/areas that arent being used - I turn off or set to automatic. (That light in the broom closet does NOT need to be on!!!) We have recycling, so everything that can go that direction--goes there. I even take the plastic soda bottles in the waste cans and toss them in to be recycled, even though each soda bottle has a 5-cent deposit. Better then having them in the trash/land fill. I also know that it being a county facility, that waste is being paid for by tax payers money. I work too hard for that money to just toss it to the landfills. I'm the same way at home....my kids call me the "Light Nazi." If they aren't in a room for 2 minutes I turn the light off. My husband went threw and put in all energy saver bulbs. I would love to be able to get the facility to switch to them...but the whole idea of spending a dime to save a dollar is just beyond the higher powers way of thinking. At home, we recycle, its a county mandate to reduce refuse. I'm at time amazed at how many bags of cans, plastics and glass gets set by the curb for the county boys to take for recycling. I think OMG all this used to be just garbage!!

My saying is "Saving the planet...one light at a time!"

Rose

Good luck to you!! Any more ideas would be appreciated!

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floatRN has 4 years experience and specializes in Med-Surg.

138 Posts; 3,550 Profile Views

Hi, thanks for posting that site. Its very interesting. I've been thinking alot about this topic lately.

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19 Posts; 1,267 Profile Views

float RN, glad you like the website...I know its a little busy, but it's a big topic!!!

Northern Rose you my be my evil twin (I, of course being the good one!) because I'm the same at work. Of course at home hubby & I are both green minded....at work others aren't so much. The call me the Granola Nurse!

Retired RN-always a good thought, especially when we think about the huge environmental impact of medications once they're excreted (especially antiobiotics and hormones-viagra, BCP, PMU)! Why not stay healthy & not take em?!

PawashRN-not sure what you mean about nuked? I'm with you on saving supplies!

Thanks for the thoughts everyone!

More ideas:

-NEVER EVER put meds down sinks/drains

-return unused/expired meds to pharmacy & manufacturers NEVER flush!

-collect recycling

-recycle shredded chart paper

-recycle supplies for 3rd world contries (human and veterinary)

-Go easy on the soap when you wash your hands-most of it just runs down the drain (same for all Personal Care Products)

-unplug anything that doesn't need to be run/charged

-advocate for a healthier work environment (get rid of that asbestos!)

-get some plants on your unit

-wear scrubs made of natural fibers

-plan in advance so you don't waste supplies (dressing changes, etc)

-empty your pockets before you go home...you'll eventuall get fed up "collecting" things and throw em out anyways!

-turn the lougne tv off if no ones in there

-turn out lights if not necessary

-bike or transit to work

-Walk to Timmy's for your coffee runs (isn't there one across from every hospital?). It's a nice break!

Anything else???

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2 Posts; 423 Profile Views

If anyone wants further help with this, I manage a sustainability program for a healthcare system with a 53% reccyclng rate. Always happy to help people get started or do better. I guarantee you my program is depenedant upon employee involvement with heavy dependance upon nurses.

TB

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