Published on : August 19, 2010

Environmentally Friendly Tips for Hospital Staff

Environmentally Friendly Tips for Hospital Staff

Here are some ideas as to what you, as a healthcare administrator, doctor, nurse, technician, pharmacist, nutritionist, physiotherapist, cleaner can do in your clinic / hospital, to make it sustainable. The leadership of the hospital should make sure adequate importance is given to FWWAGET, which ultimately will get the future generations a greener earth.

Remember the 7 elements of a green hospital as published by the WHO:

FWWAGET (made easy to remember)

  1. Food ~ Consume local organic and sustainable foods
  2. Water ~ Consume safe drinking preferably non bottled water
  3. Waste ~ Reduce waste and recycle, wherever possible
  4. Alternate energy ~ Use alternative sources of energy
  5. Green building design ~ Consider the same during the construction phase
  6. Energy efficiency ~ Reduce energy consumption through using clean renewable energy
  7. Transportation ~ Encourage staff to stay close, walk, bicycle and use alternative  fuel for vehicles

Here are some simple tips to be applied accordingly in your day to day work at the hospital / clinic.

  • Say no to plastics.  Give it your best shot. The bags that you use at work place, the covers that you use to get food, the free covers that you get from your hospital pharmacy / stores, etc.
  • Say yes to recycling. Also give it your best shot.  Recycle the carton boxes that come in tons and the paper, along with it. Recycle, all one side printed paper, (which it is in most cases), and use the other side and make sure confidential information is disposed of or shredded, as per clinic / hospital policy.
  • Recycle glass.  You generate a lot.  As a clinic / hospital, you have the ability to recycle all the glass vials, bottles that you use. Find out local governmental agencies or otherwise who do this in your locality.
  • Stop printing unwanted material at your clinic / hospital. You can put a stop to unwanted printing and get all your staff including senior managers to start reading from the computer.
  • Plant trees in your clinic / hospital, if space allows it.
  • Do not use tissues unless you absolutely require them and in most cases, it’s not required. Ask your infection control nurse to teach you how to sneeze, which is one of the biggest reasons for people using tissues.
  • Learn how to sneeze in private or public in a manner that it controls the spread of infection and teach others, about the same. You will be surprised to see the difference you can make.
  • Be stingy when it comes to using envelopes, paper clips, stapler pins, adhesives and adhesive tapes, CD’s etc. You don’t pay for most of it, therefore be stingy.
  • Start a committee of passionate people / staff, who have the light of sustainability, stinginess (environmentally) and environment friendliness in them.
  • Switch off the computers when you leave for the day and on other cases put them on standby mode. Ask your IT department people to help you with it. Screen savers across the computers in the hospital / clinic should display such environmentally friendly activities, till it becomes a culture within your organization.
  • Switch off the lights and the air conditioning in your room, when you don’t require them and when you are leaving for the day.

We should be practicing what we have learned and do our effort for the sustainability of our planet EARTH.

About The Author

A healthcare professional with a penchant to identify & pursue progressive projects, Dr Alexander Varghese is a qualified Dental Surgeon, from VS Dental College, Bangalore, who chose to follow his heart by becoming a trained Hospital Management professional. He completed his Masters in Health Services Management from Apollo Institute of Hospital Management and Allied Sciences, Chennai, affiliated to the Charles Sturt University, Australia.

Dr. Varghese joined Zulekha Healthcare Group in an administrative role contributing to the Quality and Operational Processes at Zulekha Hospital Dubai, as Manager – Operations. He was instrumental in developing standardization of Administrative and Clinical processes within the Group and was part of the core team that helped the group achieve Joint Commission International accreditation for the group hospitals in Dubai and Sharjah. He was promoted as Deputy Director – Administration & Quality at Zulekha Hospital – Sharjah. Dr. Varghese has also been part of the core team implementing standardization activities and was part of the core team involved in the preparation for College of American Pathologists (CAP) accreditation for the laboratories in the group. Dr. Varghese was also one of the lead managers for the eco-sensitive committee of the Group called ‘Earth Friends For Optimal Results Tomorrow (EFFORT).

Dr. Alexander Varghese, continued to follow his heart and is one of the founding members of Quality Conclave, based in Dubai, UAE. His areas of interest and specialty are Healthcare Quality, Hospital Operations, Sustainable Healthcare Initiatives, Public Private Partnerships in Healthcare, Healthcare Insurance.  Dr. Alexander Varghese is accessible at alexanderv@qualityconclave.com.