Nursing Times

August 2023

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The unequivocal message from nurses writing for Nursing Times this month is "nurses can play a vital role in tackling the climate crisis and aiming for net zero, and the profession needs to act now". The very high temperatures and extreme weather conditions that have afflicted southern Europe and many other parts of the world in recent weeks make this message feel even more urgent than ever. This annual "green issue" of Nursing Times is dedicated to environment challenges across health and social care and the potential solutions to them.


The clinical section features a new series of articles looking at how nurses can take action to promote more-sustainable care models.


Angela Hayes, a specialist nurse at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, asks whether nursing is doing enough to tackle the climate crisis and meet NHS net-zero targets for carbon emissions. In one article Angela highlights that climate change poses a great risk to public health. In a second article, Angela describes a quality-improvement initiative that helps health professionals consider greener ways of working.


And Clare Nash, a senior nurse in clinical procurement introduces a tool for choosing sustainable clinical products.


We have also spoken to the profession's next generation, with student nurses explaining why they are ready to be 'eco leaders' in health and social care.


And don't miss our opinion section in which we hear from senior nurses on what they are doing to promote sustainability and why it is so important to them.


Meanwhile, our role model for August is Nina Henton-Waller, a sister at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust who is leading a green initiative at her hospital to improve staff wellbeing. The Green Plant Project sees staff at Torbay Hospital given a potted plant to take back to their non-clinical spaces to look after.


By highlighting these nurse-led green initiatives, views, and calls to action, we hope we inspire you to see how your team, ward or organisation might also become more sustainable. While 'greening' health and social care is not necessarily easy, by working together to share ideas and encouragement, we believe nursing staff in all settings and roles and at all levels of seniority and experience can achieve change at the scale that is so clearly needed.