Changing undergraduate paramedic students' attitudes towards sustainability and climate change

Janet Richardson
Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Background:Climate change will impact on emergency services and healthcare practitioners need to be aware of future challenges. The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of a scenario-based educational intervention designed to raise awareness and generate discussion among practitioners and students about sustainability and climate change.Methods:Paramedic undergraduate students completed a Sustainability Attitudes Survey before they participated in a health and sustainability session that focused on resources used in clinical practice and the potential impact of climate change and natural materials scarcity on resource availability. The students completed the questionnaire again following the session.Results:Significant differences between the pre- and post-intervention questionnaires were found for 8/9 attitude statements; there was no significant difference for the statement: the segregation of healthcare waste is important. Students were more likely to accurately report the cost of disposing of clinical and domestic waste following the session.Conclusions:Data suggests that participation in a health and sustainability scenario can improve knowledge about the use of natural resources in clinical practice, where resources come from, and the cost of waste management. Attitudes towards including sustainability and climate change in healthcare curricula were more positive following participation in the health and sustainability session.

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