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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Nurses lead on developing principles to address climate change impact on health care

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Led by a national community of interest and developed over a 12-month period, the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) today launched its national Nursing Leadership in Emissions Reduction Guiding Principles.

Chief Executive Officer Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward said climate change is the biggest threat facing our patients’ health globally, and as the largest health profession in Australia, nurses are the forefront of caring for their communities locally.

“Nurses are well placed to develop strategies to support waste reduction, or to implement sustainable practices in health care,” she said.

“They’re at the frontline when it comes to climate change and in helping to reduce emissions. 

“As healthcare leaders, they want to feel confident to educate and support their communities on the impact of climate change and health, and most importantly, they want to take personal and professional responsibility.

“These Guiding Principles are designed to provide nurses and other healthcare professionals with advice on how they can educate, advocate and act for climate change and health – for their patients, families and their communities,” Ward said.

The Nursing Leadership Emissions Reduction Guiding Principles include four principles:

  1. Nurses champion climate action – Nurses are a trusted voice and have an ethical imperative to be climate action advocates.
  2. Nurses lead sustainable practices in health care – As the largest group of health professionals, nurses are in control of high waste episodes of care and are primed to implement sustainable practices in health care.
  3. Nurses lead global interdisciplinary collaboration – Climate change is a global problem that requires nursing leadership in collaboration with other health professionals.
  4. Nurses contribute to climate-informed policy and research – Climate action should be on every nursing research and policy agenda.

The ACN’s Nursing Leadership Emissions Reductions Guiding Principles document is available for download here.

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