Nursing & Healthcare News

Nurses Versus Climate Change

ANA releases position statement on what nurses can do

Operating room nurse wearing blue scrubs, a mask, and cap, discards her surgical gown into the trash bin.

Calling climate change “a critical public health issue that requires urgent action,” the ANA recently released a new position statement outlining nurses’ role in addressing the multiple health impacts of a warming planet.

“The Single Biggest Health Threat”

The ANA statement, published in September, quotes the World Health Organization, which now calls climate change “the single biggest health threat facing humanity.” The health risks from the escalating ecological crisis will snowball without rapid and effective response. Nurses in all workplace settings and roles can find guidance and a call to action in the ANA position statement.


  • Advocate for climate-smart policies that reduce the greenhouse gas emissions generated in healthcare delivery (which is responsible for about 8.5 percent of U.S. carbon emissions).
  • Create opportunities for nurses to decrease the environmental impacts of their practice areas.
  • Integrate climate-related content into nursing curricula at all levels.
  • Understand social and environmental determinants of health and the ways that marginalized communities bear a disproportionate burden of climate-related health consequences.
  • Serve in public office, leadership, boards of directors, and local government bodies to advocate for environmentally healthy practices.
  • Promote partnerships between healthcare institutions, communities, and government agencies to advance climate action and preparedness for climate-related disasters.

Sources of Hope

Above all, the ANA statement emphasizes the importance of nurses as sources of hope in a time of crisis. “We bring hope because people trust us to speak truthfully, act ethically, and advocate on their behalf,” the statement says.

You can download the complete statement from ANA’s website.

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