Friday, January 4, 2008

"Green" Nurses

From the title, you might expect I was once again pontificating on the new graduate nurse. But, you would be wrong! The post title is really something significant to nurses as we look at the amount of disposable waste we generate in the hospital or health care environment each day. I have to admit - I am certainly no expert on this, but it would seem to me that every time I use a pair of gloves or use supplies that are perfectly packaged, I am making a not so wonderful contribution to the waste issue on our planet.

Have you considered the amount of waste you generate in one single shift? What happens to all this waste? I am sure it is incinerated, but the power necessary to incinerate this waste has to also take its tool on the natural resources of the planet as well. Are there better ways to package supplies? Are there better ways that health care professionals can promote a green attitude in the health care environment that does not place them or the patient at risk? I would certainly believe that we can and really should strive to look into this issue.

While I may not have the answers professionally about health care waste, I can start at home. I can make a difference at home and begin to explore how I can make a difference professionally. Hopefully you can too.


  1. First of all, Happy New Year!

    I have often thought about this in regards to our work situation. Having lived in a foreign country for a few years during my teenage years, it made me appreciate the things that we have and also understand how much we waste. I have yet to perfect my "green" life, but each day I try to do a little more!

  2. Our hospital is trying, with baby steps at least. We do have recycle bins for non-HIPPA paperwork, as well as bottle and can collections in the cafeteria; we recycle the oximeter probes (although I am sure thats for our economic benefit, not the ecological benefit)

    I think the push for disposable everything to reduce the sterilization costs has caused a lot of the waste problem; there has to be a happy medium...