Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is used to help limit the spread of infectious diseases to others and the wearer. It is widely used throughout healthcare sectors which come into contact with blood and other bodily fluids. Studies suggest that if each person in the UK wore a single-use face mask every day for 1 year, over 66,000 tonnes of unrecyclable plastic waste would be generated. Read more →
Designed and delivered by the university’s first-year Human Nutrition students, along with many supporting volunteers and the help of the Students’ Union, this year’s Go Green Week signified a new opportunity to reach a wider audience and promote global participation. Read more →
Through the University of Worcester’s continuing partnership with Worcester Polytechnic Institute, students have collaborated on a research project to quantify and map PNR parking in Worcester. The purpose of this research is to highlight the potential opportunities for reuse and redevelopment associated with local surplus PNR parking. Read more →
The second in a series of three student-led projects, the aim of this project was to assist the University of Worcester and Worcester City Council to roll out the pilot e-bike share scheme. Read more →
As part of the partnership between the University of Worcester and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, a large cohort of students have collaborated on a joint research project. The aim of this project was to develop a process that complements the current Responsible Futures assessment of student engagement from the perspective of students themselves. Read more →
How we choose to behave as individuals and as a society will determine how much we can protect our Earth and our climate. Changing our individual habits can lead to cultural shifts which affect the behaviour of businesses and governments, leading to meaningful and impactful change – just look at the rise in plant-based milks. Read more →
Sustainable travel includes almost all of the alternatives to using a car. This includes cycling, walking, taking the bus, train, tram or metro. All of these transport methods create less pollution than individuals driving cars. But unfortunately, sustainable travel still isn’t accessible to everyone. Read more →
You might have noticed that many more people still choose the fossil fuel-guzzling car over the humble bicycle. So, let’s talk about why that is, and the barriers that stop more people from cycling. Read more →
Instead of letting your fridge food go to waste, put it to good use with some of these weird yet wonderful sandwich ideas. Vegetarian sandwich ideas by University of Worcester students Ashleigh Osborne (Words) and Joe Toft (Digital Media) Sammies in your Jammies was the Go Green Week event I was most looking forward to. We were promised 5 wacky sandwiches… Read more →
Wasting food feeds climate change. The app helping us to fight food waste. The University of Worcester has partnered with Too Good To Go, the app that connects customers to restaurants and shops with unsold, surplus food in a bid to fight food waste and climate change. Read more →
Plastic waste is a huge issue for our planet. With plastic bottles taking up to 450 years to decompose, plastic waste can cause serious and long-lasting damage to our ecosystems. Read more →
The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world. As fast fashion slowly claims more of the planet’s resources, it’s vital that we begin making the switch to more sustainable fashion. Read more →
During Go Green Week 2021, the university held a free plant giveaway and planting workshop for students. Students at the workshop learned how to pot and maintain a plant as a way of encouraging wellbeing among students. Read more →
In my first year at university, a flat mate of mine shared his ideas to reuse glass jars as drinking glasses and storage. It transformed our kitchen into a sustainable space, with jar-lined windows and an overflowing supply of quirky glasses for drinking. Read more →
Before throwing a broken item away, consider taking it to a repair cafe. Repair cafes are meeting places where you’ll find tools, materials and volunteers to help you make any repairs you might need, free of charge. Read more →
Worcester has its very own zero waste shop called Pack It In. Pack It In sells a wide range of products. From grains, baking ingredients and herbs, to personal care and home products, Pack It In sells everything you need. Read more →
How to travel more sustainably by University of Worcester student Joseph Foster (BA English Literature, Year 2) How to travel more sustainably Everyone wishes they could get to where they are going just that little bit faster. In our city, we’re really not much different. Congestion has been an issue in Worcester for a long time and it has a… Read more →
Interface is a worldwide leader in the design and production of modular flooring products that combine beauty with functionality and environmental credentials to help businesses and organisations bring their design vision to life. Interface was one of the first companies to publicly commit to sustainability, when it made its Mission Zero pledge in the mid-nineties. Mission Zero represents the company’s… Read more →
Introducing sustainability concepts to undergraduate nursing and healthcare students
At Plymouth University we wanted to embed sustainability in the nursing curriculum in a way that made it relevant to practice. Our project aimed to introduce sustainability concepts to undergraduate nursing and healthcare students, and to increase awareness and encourage discussion. We recognised that implementing sustainability practices in healthcare requires a multi-professional approach so we worked with our Design colleagues to involve Product Design students in learning opportunities.
So often issues about climate change and sustainability can seem rather theoretical and remote; often the problems feel so much bigger than any individual so we become paralysed and unable to act. In healthcare we have significant challenges that relate to how we manage resources and how we can ensure we have sustainable supply chains for the things we use every day. Changes in climate, natural disasters and geopolitical events can impact on the availability of healthcare resources and our ability to deliver healthcare. The course we have devised demonstrates this to students through identifying and discussing the sustainability issues which may directly affect them as health care practitioners.
We have used our research in health and sustainability to develop scenario-based sessions for nursing and healthcare students that link evidence to practice. Students engage fully in the sessions, and the involvement of design students adds a new dimension to discussions and possible solutions.
Following these scenario-based sessions the students are asked to complete an attitudes and knowledge questionnaire which have been used to evaluate both student learning and the value of the course. Our findings are summarised below:
Change in attitudes
There has been a demonstrable change in attitudes towards sustainability and climate change and including these topics in the curriculum where student nurses participate in these sessions. Comments suggest the sessions are interesting and relevant to practice:
Really has made me question what to throw away where, and not to use equipment that is not needed. Made me think what I can do to help a problem fast approaching of lack of materials (student nurse).
Change in knowledge
A comparison of student nurses found better knowledge of waste management in those who had participated in the sustainability skills session compared with students who did not participate.
Students have benefited from interdisciplinary learning: This gave us a better understanding of the problem.
I can imagine this being a real life situation (Design Student)
This was thought provoking.
Liked the low-high impact workshop, made me think with in relation to practice (Student Nurse).
Product Design students we were able to implement an ‘empathic design process’. This involved observation of users and user environments to stimulate insights; idea generation, development and prototyping in 3D; collaborative discussion with users to evaluate and then refine concept propositions.
We have seen the benefits of academics from different disciplines working together. For example health academics have been learning about product development, Intellectual Property issues and Commercialisation
The team was shortlisted for a Plymouth University Vice-Chancellor’s Enterprise Award in recognition of the project in 2013, and we won the Green Gown Award 2014 for Courses and Learning.
We have been able to create further opportunities for students, such as via the development of a prototype e-version of the sustainability and healthcare scenario skills sessions. This will be developed by third year design students and tested by second and third year student nurses. The intention is to make this e-version more widely available to educators, nurses and other healthcare practitioners.
The course will undoubtedly provide inspiration to other Universities across the UK and internationally. It’s also wonderful that it’s stimulated further off-shoot projects. I think one big question other institutions will be asking is from a resource perspective who was involved and what were their roles?
Well, initially we had members of our Sustainability, Society and Health research group working with academic colleagues who teach the child health students. We very quickly involved colleagues in 3 D Design who teach product design; at Plymouth the design courses are underpinned by sustainable design principles. We now teach the sustainability scenarios to students across the nursing curriculum and run some sessions with other healthcare professional students.
The initial challenge was to convince colleagues that sustainability is relevant to the nursing curriculum, and we achieved this by running the scenario with our academic colleagues. The challenge now is to continue to develop new scenarios that are contemporary and evidence-based. In terms of advice to others, I would encourage them to make sure that the sustainability scenarios they use are practical, relevant and evidence-based, and that they are designed to focus participants on discussion.
The susthingsout editorial team would like to thank Professor Janet Richardson for providing this article.
Further details about the project can be found at:
Sustainability, Society and Health Research
Or you can follow the project: twitter @SSHRPlymUni and @NurSus_EU
Professor Richardson’s work can be found in the following journals:
Richardson J., Grose J., Gill JL., Hertel J., Jackson B., Sadeghian H., Kelsey J. (2014). Effect of climate change and resource scarcity on health care. Nursing Standard 28(45):44-49 http://rcnpublishing.com/doi/pdfplus/10.7748/ns.28.45.44.e8415
Manzi, S., Nichols, A. & Richardson, J. (2014). A non-participant observational study of health and social care waste disposal behaviour in the South West of England. Journal of Health Services Research & Policy
Richardson J., Grose J., Doman M., Kelsey J. (2104) The use of evidence-informed sustainability scenarios in the nursing curriculum: development and evaluation of teaching methods. Nurse Education Today. 34:490-93
Grose J., Richardson J. (2013) Strategies to identify future shortages due to interruptions in the healthcare procurement supply chain: a method from the English National Health Service. Journal of Health Service Research Policy and Practice. http://hsr.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/08/21/1355819613502172