Environmental Stewardship: The Nurse’s Role in Sustainability

Julie Kleber

nursing, delivery of health care, waste management, pollution, sustainability
CJON 2018, 22(3), 354-356. DOI: 10.1188/18.CJON.354-356

With the largest body of employees in U.S. health care, the nursing profession is well positioned to tackle the challenges of waste reduction within hospital systems. The healthcare sector generates a massive amount of waste, contributing to environmental issues, such as air and water pollution. By unifying and engaging staff through shared governance models, nurses can reduce the overhead costs associated with waste management and help maintain fiscal integrity. Nurses have the ability to use their trusted skill sets and lead the way for sustainable, healthy communities and environments in which they serve.


  • Current healthcare waste disposal methods, such as incineration, generate toxins, including mercury, dioxin, and other air and water pollutants.
  • Reducing medical supply waste can decrease overhead cost for institutions.
  • Nurses comprise the largest profession in health care and are adept at educating, researching, and leading in waste reduction.
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