The First Green Nurse
Florence Nightingale and I have had a moment. It occurred to me that she could be considered the very first Green Nurse! In her own famous words describing what a nurse should do...
“Put the patient in the best possible environment for nature to act...”
...Florence pinpointed exactly how important the environment is to good health.
In fact, in her day (think Civil War era) the environment was one of the few things nurses could control to help improve their patient's outcome. Clean air and water, nourishing food, sunshine and a healing, toxin-free environment are still building blocks of good health.
Our Role as Nurses
Are we providing these building blocks? And furthermore, is the health system, as a whole, building up or tearing down the communities it serves through its environmental practices?
I believe we have taken for granted that we have done all we can if we continue Status Quo nursing practice regarding:
- what reaches our patients
- how we view nursing's impact on the health of the planet and the people who inhabit it.
Nurses advocating for the best possible environment must begin to think outside of the hospital room, the patients home or even our own community.
There is a global environmental crisis happening that will eventually trickle down to our neighborhoods and workplaces unless we take action now to preserve, even improve the shared environment.
Nurses are in a unique position to rally for green initiatives in healthcare and within their communities. Nurses are nationally recognized as the most trusted profession. We have diversified and far reaching spheres of influence. Let's use our voices!
All nurses are patient advocates, and now, more than ever, they need us to be their voices in the fight for “the best possible environment.”
Oh, and we want the highest quality, least toxic environment for ourselves too!