Education for sustainable health care: From learning to professional practice

Norma Huss, Moses N Ikiugu, Finola Hackett, Perry E Sheffield, Natasha Palipane, Jonathan Groome
Medical Teacher 2020 July 31, : 1-5
A number of planetary boundaries, including climate change as a result of greenhouse gas emissions, has already been exceeded. This situation has deleterious consequences for public health. Paradoxically, 4.4% of these emissions are attributable to the healthcare sector. These problems have not been sufficiently acknowledged in health professions curricula. This paper addresses two main issues, humanistic learning and the application of knowledge acquisition to clinical practice. Humanistic learning principles can be used to emphasize learner-centered approaches, including knowledge acquisition and reflection to increase self-awareness. Applying humanistic principles in everyday life and clinical practice can encourage stewardship, assisting students to become agents for change. In terms of knowledge and skills application to clinical practice, an overview of varied and novel approaches of how sustainable education can be integrated at different stages of training across several health care professions is provided. The Health and Environment Adaptive Response Taskforce (HEART) platform as an example of creating empowered learners, the NurSusTOOLKIT, a multi-disciplinary collaboration offering free adaptable educational resources for educators and the Greener Anaesthesia and Sustainability Project (GASP), an example of bridging the transition to clinical practice, are described.

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