Expanding the role of the Integrative Nurse Coach: Greener Hospitals

RecycleEnvironmental health has been a key factor in nursing’s holistic and integrative view of health from the beginning of the nursing profession. One of Florence Nightingale’s main pillars of health was strict environmental control. Nightingale knew that putting the patient in the healthiest environment was essential for healing to occur. The green hospital movement, inspired by nurses and by our Nightingale legacy, is vital for creating healthier workplace environments. Nurses can be leaders in the creation of safe environments in the home, workplace and community.

According to the World Health Organization, close to one fourth of the diseases experienced by the world’s population can be attributed to environmental exposures. The healthcare industry contributes to this by producing more than 2.4 million tons of waste each year and is one of the largest consumers of energy in many communities.  Hospital waste and energy consumption affect the health of the environment and, consequently, the health of each human being within the environment.

As Integrative Nurse Coaches, how do we increase awareness, create opportunities and advocate for a healthier workplace and transform hospitals into sustainable environments for patients and for all who work there? Begin to notice your workplace environment. Are there chemicals you are exposed to daily that might be affecting your health? Are your co workers affected by cleaning products used? What are other choices or options?  How can nurses advocate for a healthier workplace environment?

How can your hospital participate in this growing trend towards a more sustainable work environment?

Check out what these hospitals in Massachusetts are up to.

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As Co-Founder of the International Nurse Coach Association for over a decade, Susan has been teaching and developing coaching program and currently through the Integrative Nurse Coach® Academy. She is Board Certified in Health and Wellness Coaching, Holistic Nursing, and Clinical Nutrition. Susan has authored several chapters on Nutrition and Environmental Health for Holistic Nursing, Integrative Nursing, and Nurse Leadership textbooks. She has co-authored Nurse Coaching and Self-Assessment chapters in; Holistic Nursing: A Handbook for Practice, 7th edition (2015-2020) and is co-author of the award winning book (ANA Gold Seal, 2015) Nurse Coaching: Integrative Approaches for Health and Wellbeing (2015) and The Art and Science of Nurse Coaching, an ANA Publication (2013), that led the way to establishing the standards for practice in the emerging Nurse Coach role. For the past 20 years, she has been the Nurse Coach and Nutrition consultant for Special Immunology Services at Mercy Hospital in Miami and is currently the Director of Nurse Coaching at Rezilir Health in Hollywood, Florida. Susan continues to integrate lifestyle health and wellness education into diverse communities, bringing her expertise and passion as a nurse, clinical nutritionist, and medical anthropologist. She has developed and implemented integrative health initiatives for diverse community organizations including the Yellow Courtyard, Integrative Health Symposium, Urban Zen, New York Open Center, The Lower East Side Girls Club, Kripalu, Omega Institute, and the University of Miami and Florida Atlantic University. As a concerned global citizen, Susan is the founder and education director of the Earthrose Institute, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to environmental health education and advocacy. She maintains a private practice as an Integrative Nurse Coach® with a focus on nutrition and the environment.

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