Senior Honors Projects, 2020-current

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation




Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)


School of Nursing


Chris Fasching-Maphis

Kara R. B. Bates

Eric L. Fitzgerald

Elizabeth K. Herron


Purpose: Climate change is a growing issue all around the world and has negative impacts on the environment and human health. The health care industry is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions amplifying climate change. Health care establishments are in place to improve health but are inadvertently harming it at the same time. Methods: A review of the literature was conducted to determine the impact the health care industry has on climate change and what can be done to limit the impacts on the environment. Resources were collected from trusted organizations databases such as Healthcare Without Harm, Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and a selection of scholarly articles including The Lancet. Results: The literature indicated that the health care industry was a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and correlated with the amount of expenditure. According to data collected in 2018, the U. S. health care system makes up 17.7% of the nation’s GDP, and therefore, produces a higher ratio of greenhouse gasses (Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 2019). Hospitals have been identified as the key contributor to greenhouse gasses from the healthcare industry. There are methods hospitals can implement to reduce their carbon footprint and it is possible to create a carbon-neutral healthcare system as Kaiser Permanente has achieved for the first time in the U.S. (Costa, 2020). Conclusion: As global temperatures rise, there is a dire need to make a change in the ways humans affect the environment. The health care industry has the power to make a significant impact to improve environmental health if correct methods were put in place. Nurses make up the majority of the workforce in health care and can kindle the movement to make a difference in how their community perceives the impacts health care facilities have on the environment.



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