Nurses Climate Challenge: Educating 50,000 Health Professionals by 2022

200131 climate change challenge

There is increasing interest and engage­ment among the nursing commu­nity around environ­mental matters that influ­ence human health, such as climate change. Nurses are trusted health profes­sionals and make up nearly 40% of the health­care workforce, serving as catalysts of change in their insti­tu­tions and practice settings.

To activate nurses, the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environ­ments (ANHE) and Health Care Without Harm (HCWH), launched the Nurses Climate Challenge (the Challenge) in May 2018. The Nurses Climate Challenge is a national campaign to educate health profes­sionals on climate and health, with nurses leading the educa­tion. The Challenge started with the original goal to educate 5,000 health profes­sionals and was quickly surpassed in less than a year due to the combined efforts of Nurses Climate Champions around the world.

The response to the Nurses Climate Challenge has been robust. There are over 1,000 nurse climate champions from nearly all 50 states, with over 13,000 health profes­sionals educated since the launch. In addition, nurses from 19 countries outside the United States are regis­tered as Nurse Climate Champions. However, there are nearly four million nurses and 18 million workers in the health­care sector in the US alone; there­fore there is an oppor­tu­nity to exponen­tially scale the impact of the Challenge. To do this, we are aiming to educate 50,000 health profes­sionals by 2022.

The Nurses Climate Challenge offers a compre­hen­sive toolkit with all the resources nurses need to educate colleagues on climate and health and engage in climate-smart practices in health settings and at home. Nurses using the Challenge resources are highlighted through profiles (https://​nursescli​mat​e​chal​lenge​.org/​c​h​a​m​p​i​o​n-profiles) published on the Challenge website, shared in newslet­ters, and posted on social media to showcase the work being done and to inspire others to join.

The Challenge also calls on nurses to be advocates for climate and health. Leading within a nursing organi­za­tion, health insti­tu­tion, or academic center to spear­head initia­tives to address climate change is an example of how nurses can move health profes­sionals from educa­tion to action. The Challenge resources include a guide to taking action within workplace and home settings and provide other points to get started. 

As a nurse, you can also educate policy­makers and the public about the connec­tion between climate and health and how to take action by writing a letter to the editor in a local newspaper, meeting with elected officials, or talking with patients, friends and family members, and/​or your commu­nity about the health impacts of climate change. The Challenge website includes sample talking points and template letter to the editors in the resources section. 

Further­more, the CHANT: Climate, Health, and Nursing Tool 2020 is now avail­able. CHANT is 10-minute volun­tary survey asking respon­dents about aware­ness, motiva­tion, and behav­iors related to climate and health. Nurses and other health profes­sions are encour­aged to take the survey every year. Access CHANT here: http://​bit​.ly/30riTR9.

Learn more and join the Nurses Climate Challenge by visiting nursescli​mat​e​chal​lenge​.org.