Many of the United States’ largest institutions are looking for ways to become more environmentally friendly, and the healthcare system is no different. To make nursing practices greener, several programs have been adopted, some of which are related to the care of patients and some of which are more practical, such as better waste management. Whether they represent minor or major changes, each strategy has an impact on the overall sustainability of hospital nursing. Here’s a closer look at some of the most promising ideas.

Using efficiency to lower a facility’s carbon footprint

eco friendly hospitals

In economics, efficiency is used to measure the performance of a system, and in healthcare, the same is true. It tends to be measured at two crucial junctures, how efficient the delivery of care is and how efficient the eventual outcome was. The aim is to deliver the best possible care to people in need in the most cost-efficient way. Although spending on health has increased alongside its effectiveness, there remains a constant need to control spending while staying on target in terms of health goals. However, research has often shown that wasteful practices are a huge drain on the industry’s overall budget.

Overtreatment, such as premature surgery and overprescribing antibiotics, is of little benefit to the patient and increases the hospital’s carbon footprint. A lack of coordination when it comes to patient care can result in multiple health professionals carrying out the same investigations on a patient, which is also a needless drain on resources. Furthermore, without a standardized process for administration across the entire facility, hospitals will continue to waste money that could be better spent on patient care.

How can hospitals boost efficiency?

To promote more efficient practices while maintaining an excellent level of care, hospitals need to identify the wasteful habits in their facility. Furthermore, enhanced training can also equip staff with the knowledge and confidence to challenge inefficient ways of working. For BSN-prepared nurses, the online family nurse practitioner program at Texas Woman’s University is an excellent place to start. Students are taught advanced nursing competencies along with leadership skills that ready them for a senior role in medicine.

Nursing and climate change

Using preventive healthcare measures

Instances of illnesses and their associated risk factors can be reduced through the use of preventive healthcare. As the population ages and the quality of healthcare increases, the number of people living with chronic diseases will grow. In addition, keeping patients in good health by providing the medicines and care they need will necessarily drive up costs. By identifying conditions in advance and managing them quickly, before they become worse, hospitals can minimize the resources required to treat people. This gives facilities more control over their spending and waste.

Preventative care involves a range of procedures, but the simplest can be the most effective. These include testing for specific symptoms of illness, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, vaccinating people against common diseases and screening those in high-risk categories. The US healthcare system offers several screening services, including colonoscopies and mammograms, both of which are key to the early detection of cancer.

Better clinical waste management

Changing to a more sustainable method of waste disposal can be costly in the short term. It involves the formation of policies backed up with the necessary infrastructure. However, once this is in place, disposal that causes no harm to the public and is environmentally safe can also be cost effective.

Nursing Become More Eco-Friendly

Some key initiatives include minimizing shipping waste by requesting that suppliers change their packaging style. Furthermore, the purchasing team can liaise with other departments to eliminate the procurement of toxic substances. Digital X-ray procedures, for example, allow the hospital to avoid the chemicals and waste associated with creating physical copies. Similarly, to eliminate waste paper, patient records can be applied to a digital system. This also makes a person’s notes more accessible to the entire care team and can prevent duplicate tests from being carried out. Finally, hospitals can promote the idea of reusing items that are designed for this purpose, rather than throwing them away. Switching to reusable probes, cups and ceramics is a start, but the concept of maintaining these products with careful cleaning and refurbishing should also be promoted.

At the End

The World Health Organization states that climate change is one of the biggest threats to people’s health, causing pollution, heat stress and even malnutrition. Therefore, although hospitals will always be under pressure to keep costs low, the adoption of sustainable practices like these is crucial, as it helps to support the nation’s future well-being.

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