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Crash course to cut hospital waste

Crash course to cut hospital waste

Ros Morgan, ANMF (Vic Branch)’s environmental health officer, running Nursing for the Environment - intensive course

Want to understand how climate change and environmental degradation affects public health? Or perhaps you are interested in getting your workplace to adopt a more robust waste reduction program.

Nursing for the Environment, a one-day intensive course run by Ros Morgan, ANMF (Vic Branch)’s environmental health officer, could be the key to getting you up to speed on the latest initiatives, regulations and ethical background underpinning environmental accountability.

Waste reduction is a highly topical issue in healthcare with paper gowns, plastic wrapping and single-use medical kits or instruments being discarded across the system. The ABC recently reported Victoria’s public healthcare system recycled only one-third of non-hazardous waste in 2017-18.

ABC’s ‘War on Waste’ host Craig Reucassel has also recently visited a Brisbane hospital to find out how staff cut waste by 600,000 kilograms for a six-minute special ‘war on hospital waste’ program.

While waste reduction is often the issue nurses and midwives would immediately identify in their daily practice, it is just one aspect of the one-day seminar’s much bigger offering of issues focusing on environmental sustainability.

Areas covered in the seminar include:

  • understanding climate change and environmental degradation in a public health framework
  • how our practice contributes to the problem
  • examining the regulatory and ethical frameworks governing healthcare organisations
  • using those frameworks to validate projects and changes to practices;
  • consideration of case studies involving changed practices, waste reduction, emissions and costs
  • exploring behavioural change principles and how they apply in the healthcare sector
  • learning how to develop and present business cases and action plans.

Participants will have the opportunity to meet environmental accountability experts from government and healthcare services. The business case presentation will be led by Monika Page, the sustainability officer at Royal Melbourne Hospital.

‘We pack a lot of information into one day to provide an overview of a large topic,’ Ros says.

The ANMF (Vic Branch) is currently developing online modules covering environmental sustainability and accountability in the healthcare sector.

Register for the Nursing for the environment – intensive course