Collaborations to Reduce Environmental Waste in Healthcare Setting Analysis Sample

Posted on October 4, 2023

Paper Instructions

Academic level – Undergrad 1-2

Type of paper – Literature Analysis/Review

Topic Title – Collaborations to reduce environmental waste in healthcare setting


Part 1. Read the article by Wooldridge & Murthy (2020), “Opportunities to reduce .emissions in pediatric critical care.”

Review the article by Drinka and Clark Drinka & Clark team development.pdf.

Review the group processes in Connery & Vohs Connery & Vohs.pdf.

Review the article by Morley and Cashell morley and cashell.pdf 1.

From Table 1 in the Wooldridge and Murthy article, select and describe one of the areas of improvement that you could address in either your own unit or a healthcare system.

What is the evidence that supports your claim that this is an important area to address in terms of the environment and climate change? (i.e., provide evidence that this issue is important to address–evidence should come from outside course readings/textbook and should be based on evidence from the U.S.). (275+ words)

Part 2. Answer the following:
A) Identify 3 individuals outside of nursing who you could realistically involve in tackling the problem within your own unit/healthcare system (e.g., the CEO of your hospital is probably not realistic);
B) Explain how you would create a team among the 3 professions and nursing (how would you go about creating the group? What steps would you take to form the collaborative team?)
C) What 3 key elements or steps would you include to ensure the group functioned well? You must use the readings by Drinka & Clark and/or Morley & Cashell and your experiences in working in your project group to support your suggestions. (275+ words)

Analysis Sample

Part 1
Medication use and disposal are important to address to reduce healthcare’s environmental impact since the healthcare sector is a major contributor to pollution. In 2016, the healthcare sector within the United States was responsible for constituting 10% of the nation’s total carbon dioxide emissions, with drug manufacturing having a significant share (Wooldridge & Murthy, 2020, p. 3). Producing pharmaceuticals has a sizable carbon footprint due to chemicals, energy, and waste. Approximately 12% of healthcare sector emissions in England originate from medicines, including manufacturing, transportation, and waste (Wooldridge & Murthy, 2020, p. 3). Medication production requires chemicals and energy, while drugs frequently become overused or go to waste. For example, manufacturing 100mg of morphine sulfate emits 204g of CO2, equivalent to driving 1 km in a car (Wooldridge & Murthy, 2020, p. 3). Therefore, regulators, healthcare professionals, and society must pay attention to this aspect of environmental care.

Medication use could be improved in several ways to reduce waste and preserve ecology. For instance, proper disposal of unused medications is important to prevent water pollution, as traces of drugs have been found in many waterways. Simultaneously, Ray et al. (2019) find that up to 43% of antibiotic prescriptions in the US are potentially unnecessary, showing the need for reducing inappropriate medication use decisions to lower demands and waste. Packaging redesign to use less plastic or switching to reusable delivery methods like inhalers can also replace disposable items and improve the situation. Policies promoting the use of generic medications over branded ones could lower manufacturing demands. Finally, purchasing algorithms factoring in environmental costs may guide choices toward more sustainable options (Bengtsson-Palme et al., 2018). Addressing medication use is an impactful way for healthcare to reduce emissions and waste.

Part 2
Three individuals I could involve to solve the problem of the environmental impact of medication use are the chief pharmacist, environmental services director, and purchasing manager. Their expertise as leaders overseeing medication-related operations could provide valuable insights and the ability to implement changes. However, communicating with the hospital’s CEO and nurse leadership is also essential for highlighting the problem’s impact and importance and gaining their endorsement. To create an interprofessional team, I would first gain their support to collaborate with other departments on this initiative. Then I would meet individually with the chief pharmacist, environmental services director, and purchasing manager to share my concerns about medication waste and gain their buy-in to be part of a task force. I would establish norms of open communication and constructive conflict resolution and then schedule a first team meeting to introduce members to one another. I would assign roles like note-taker and coordinator and co-develop a charter codifying our mission, strategies, and timeline for tackling this problem.

I would focus on three key elements to ensure our interprofessional team functions effectively. First, I would foster collaboration and open communication by implementing a guideline that all members can share ideas without interruption during meetings. Morley and Cashell (2017) discuss that it allows full contribution from everyone (p. 208). Second, I would promote constructive discussion and critical thinking by having the team evaluate ideas systematically, creatively developing proposals then analyzing them objectively. Drinka and Clark (2016) and Connery and Vohs (1989) emphasize systematic thinking and separating content from a relationship when critiquing to avoid conflict. Third, as Morley and Cashell recommend, I would maintain group cohesion and satisfaction by scheduling social time and giving credit to the full team for our accomplishments (p. 217). With attention to participation, idea development, and solidarity, our interprofessional collaboration will position us for superior problem-solving.


Bengtsson-Palme, J., Gunnarsson, L., & Larsson, D. G. J. (2018). Can branding and price of pharmaceuticals guide informed choices towards improved pollution control during manufacturing? Journal of Cleaner Production, 171, 137–146.

Connery, B. A., & Vohs, J. L. (1989). Group work and collaborative writing. Campus Writing Center, UC Davis.

Drinka, T. J. K., & Clark, P. G. (2016). Key elements in team development and maintenance. In Healthcare teamwork: Interprofessional practice and education (pp. 69–109). Praeger.

Morley, L., & Cashell, A. (2017). Collaboration in health care. Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences, 48(2), 207–216.

Ray, M. J., Tallman, G. B., Bearden, D. T., Elman, M. R., & McGregor, J. C. (2019). Antibiotic prescribing without documented indication in ambulatory care clinics: National cross-sectional study. BMJ, l6461.

Wooldridge, G., & Murthy, S. (2020). Pediatric critical care and the climate emergency: Our responsibilities and a call for change. Frontiers in Pediatrics, 8.

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