Embedding sustainability into healthcare education
The NHS contributes around 5% of total UK emissions and is the biggest public sector carbon emitter in the UK (Centre for Sustainable Healthcare (CSH), 2021). There is, however, a gap in the knowledge and skills of health professionals regarding the impact of their practice on the climate crisis (CSH, 2021). In 2019, Newcastle Hospitals declared a climate emergency, which garnered national attention.
In August 2021, the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at Northumbria University accepted an invitation from the CSH to participate in the Sustainable Quality Improvement Education Project. This pilot project facilitated the integration of the Sustainable Quality Improvement (SusQI) framework into nursing and allied healthcare curricula. Initially, SusQI teaching was incorporated into the BSc (Hons) Nursing curriculum as part of the third-year dissertation module. Students were encouraged to watch videos highlighting the global impacts of climate change, providing both global and local contexts.
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