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Nursing Planetary Health

by efn efn

Nurses can play a leading role in implementing planetary health from the individual and organisational (behaviour change) to the global level (policies and governance).

Planetary health proposes an interdisciplinary, holistic and comprehensive approach to analyse and respond to the health impacts on our planet that are mediated by social, economic and political factors.

Starting the implementation of the European green deal in 2021, the European Union would benefit from an increased investment in nursing planetary health. Policies to tackle global environmental changes, also called planetary change, understood as a climate and ecological emergency, are gaining an important momentum in the design of COVID-19 recovery policies and the Green Deal in the EU. We foresee that the role of nurses will evolve in parallel on these policies. Therefore, nurses have a key role to play in the co-design and implementation of planetary health solutions. Among the key advancements in this field, we can cite the European Federation of Nurses Associations’ Policy Statement on the Nurses’ Contribution to Tackle Climate Change and the Policy Statement on Nursing Planetary Health.

Nurses have a key role to play in the co-design and implementation of planetary health solutions. Based on a long tradition of informing the public about diseases and promoting health, it is evident that nurses take on an important role as change agents in a variety of activities concerning the health aspects of local and global environmental changes. To contribute to nursing planetary health effectively, it is necessary to advance the role of nurses.

‘Relating to the nature of practice, the nurses focusing on planetary health has the ability to integrate evidence-based practice, education, and clinical management, implying the development of advanced skills to integrate the planetary health approach, and other health & environment concepts, in healthcare, community and public health interventions.’

‘Nursing planetary health, which can form the substantial contribution of nurses to the implementation and outcomes of the European Green Deal, could have a substantial impact on the safeguarding of the health and wellbeing of European citizens.’

As such, the EFN members call on the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the Council of the European Union to:

  1. Facilitate and co-create concrete nursing planetary health actions, led by nurses in advanced roles.
  2. Implement the nursing planetary health approach to protect the health of humans and the ecosystems on which it depends in all policies, primarily those related to the European Green Deal and with an emphasis on equity as a guiding principle.
  3. Promote multilateral and inclusive governance by including nurses in decision[1]making. This could be done by implementing a trans-sectoral planetary health policy framework.
  4. Finance nursing research and actions to ensure the participation of nurses in decision[1]making and implementation.

Invest resources in advanced roles in Nursing Planetary Health for improved prevention and planetary health promotion.

From 6 to 18 November, Heads of State, ministers and negotiators, along with climate activists, mayors, civil society representatives and CEOs will meet in the Egyptian coastal city of Sharm el-Sheikh for the largest annual gathering on climate action. The 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) will build on the outcomes of COP26 to deliver action on an array of issues critical to tackling the climate emergency – from urgently reducing greenhouse gas emissions, building resilience and adapting to the inevitable impacts of climate change, to delivering on the commitments to finance climate action in developing countries.