A Greener Approach to Healthcare Essay example

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Florence Nightingale, considered by many to be the founder of the nursing profession focused on the environment as a key factor in human health and healing. Today (according to Agwunobi) illnesses related to pollution have been estimated to cost about $250 billion annually and responsible for 50,000 to 100,000 deaths per year in the United States alone (cited in Gustavson, 2010, p. 7). The Joint Commission (TJC)(2008) published a five-part document that focuses on major topics our healthcare system must improve upon if we are to continue to provide the high quality of care we are accustomed to in this country. The document addresses economics, technology, environment, staffing, and patient centered care. In the following sections I will …show more content…
As nurses we sometimes get caught up in “our walls” and we don’t give much thought to how what we’re doing inside affects everyone else on the outside. After observing nurses on the floor throw away plastic medicine tops or old IV tubing you begin to wonder whether they think about where it goes and what impact it has once its gone? That IV bag and tubing contains DEHP a chemical which is commonly used in Polyvinyl chloride (the material which makes the IV bag and tubing flexible), when that chemical is exposed to fetuses, preterm babies and male infants damage to their reproductive systems occurs (Mejia & Sattler, 2009). The incineration of that IV bag or decomposition of it in a landfill leads to release of dioxins and furans (carcinogens) back into the environment where they affect people’s airways, metabolic and endocrine pathways increasing their chance of developing cancer later on in life. By exploring the path of one piece of waste, imagine the impact that an entire days worth of waste has on the environment.
Examples from Clinical Experiences Surveying a trauma room after a code is an impressive scene. You’ve got ET tubes, IV bags, IV cannulas, bag valve masks, ventilator tubing, blood gas syringes, plastic wrappers, gloves and blood collection tubes filling the room. As the cleaning

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