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How to Drive Sustainable Healthcare: Educate, Engage, and Empower

Understand how healthcare impacts the environment and gain the skills to drive sustainable change within your healthcare setting.

465 enrolled on this course

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How to Drive Sustainable Healthcare: Educate, Engage, and Empower

465 enrolled on this course

  • 3 weeks

  • 3 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Open level

Find out more about how to join this course

  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours
  • 100% online

    How it works
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    $244.99 for one whole yearLearn more

Discover the importance of sustainability in healthcare

Though healthcare systems play a vital role in society, they also have a considerable environmental impact. As we face the climate crisis, we must identify ways to reduce this impact.

On this three-week course, you’ll discover how healthcare systems negatively affect the environment and what you can do in your healthcare setting to mitigate this.

With this understanding, you’ll gain skills to promote sustainability and improve the health of your patients and the planet.

Unpack the environmental impacts of healthcare systems

Healthcare consumes a considerable amount of energy, material, and water, and is one of the largest producers of waste and pollutants.

On the course, you’ll understand the impacts of health practices on ecosystems and how we can work as part of an interdisciplinary team to reduce these negative effects.

Explore the NHS carbon footprint

Next, discover how the NHS in England accounts for 25% of public sector CO2 emissions and delve further into the causes of this, such as procurement, utilisation, and waste.

You’ll then gain practical knowledge to help you take steps in identifying sustainability opportunities, networking and communication, and QI methodology.

Learn from the experts at University College London

Finally, you’ll explore current innovative models and case studies, both nationally and internationally, to gain a global perspective on sustainable healthcare.

Guided by the experts at University College London, you’ll finish the course with the skills and knowledge to deliver sustainable solutions in your healthcare setting.

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  • Week 1


    • Introduction

      Welcome to our course! In this introduction you will look at the overall course structure, with a focus on what you will be doing during this first week.

    • Climate Change: An existential crisis

      Climate change is an existential threat. We are already experiencing the affects of anthropogenic climate change. Climate change is already destroying people's health, lives, homes and livelihoods on an unprecedented rate.

    • The problem: How the climate crisis affects our health

      Climate change and global warming are causing huge impact on the world we live on. Within the last few decades extreme weather events have become more frequent and severe and their effects have been devastating. 

    • The cause: Our contribution to the climate crisis

      The biggest culprit for climate change and global warming is the burning of fossil fuels. In this course however, we will focus on the causes in healthcare.

    • Case scenarios

      Although these are hypothetical situations they are based on real stories.

    • Summary of week one

      We have now reached the end of week one., it's time for a reflect on what we have learnt so far.

  • Week 2


    • Welcome to week two

      Week 2: Engage! This week you will investigate environmental ventures from around the world, exploring both successes and failures as you begin to think about how you will engage with your own projects.

    • Mitigating the effects of healthcare. What are we doing?

      Now we will look at how nations, health care systems and big industry are tackling environmental issues. You can use these examples to inspire you own endeavours.

    • Procurement and waste

      The procurement and waste sectors contribute greatly to healthcare pollution. By focussing on problems in this area you will begin to engage with grassroots issues.

    • The patient's carbon footprint journey

      Any planned change projects need to consider the opinions of the end user. Here we look more closely at how environmental projects in healthcare can impact on patients and what their opinions are.

    • Myth and legends

      We have looked at successes, but what about failures? Here we look at what happens when projects go wrong. We also explore widely held beliefs about environmental change which are erroneous.

    • Summary and close

      Welcome to the end of week 2. Lets look back on what you have learnt this week.

  • Week 3


    • Introduction to Week 3

      Welcome week 3, empower! In this final week you will be introduced to strategies and mechanisms to help you set up your own environmental change projects.

    • A powerful voice

      How do patients feel about sustainable healthcare? Listen to interviews from healthcare users from different countries to assess how their attitudes to a more sustainable future.

    • How to make a difference!

      Think big, Start small, Act now. Collaboration, networks and alliances and alliances are key. In this section we will hear from healthcare professionals from the UK and Europe and what they have achieved.

    • How to undertake a successful project and make a difference!

      What steps do you need to take to kick start your own project in healthcare sustainability? Follow the guidelines here to start building a greener healthcare system in your environment.

    • The future

      What does the future hold? As well as considering a curriculum for the future we want to hear what you are going to do. Join us in setting up a support network for healthcare sustainability where we can all support one another.

    • Summary


When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Discuss the vital importance of planetary healthcare and sustainable healthcare
  • Describe the urgency of the Climate Crisis
  • Engage with frameworks for creating behaviour change projects
  • Apply knowledge and skills acquired to undertake your own impactful sustainability projects

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for healthcare professionals at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

This includes community and hospital doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, healthcare workers, and more.

Who will you learn with?

Dr Manu-Priya Sharma is a consultant anaesthetist at University College Hospital London (UCLH). She has led, created, developed and delivered this course.

Dr Evelina Russell is an anaesthetic trainee in London. She has a keen interest in environmental sustainability, both in and outside of work, and has helped to develop and deliver the course.

Who developed the course?

UCL (University College London)

UCL was founded in 1826. It was the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, and the first to open up university education to those previously excluded from it.

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$244.99 for one whole year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$109/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 22 Mar 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 4 March 2024 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 4 March 2024 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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