25 April 2018, 11:30
A project that has pioneered the introduction of sustainability and climate change into degree-level nursing education has won a prestigious national newspaper award.
NurSusTOOLKIT, a comprehensive set of teaching materials developed by academics in the University of Plymouth’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, and launched in conjunction with partner institutions in Europe, secured a Guardian University Award in London last night.
Members of the project team received the honour from TV presenter Lauren Laverne, after it beat off competition from the University of Manchester in the Sustainability category. It’s the third Guardian University Award that Plymouth has won in six years.
Funded by the European Union, and made available free of charge to educators in the UK and overseas, NurSusTOOLKIT has already been adopted by a number of domestic and overseas institutions and has received the backing of senior leaders in the health sector.
Project director Professor Janet Richardson said: “We have worked hard over the last five years to embed sustainability in the nursing and healthcare curriculum. Working with colleagues in Europe, our NurSusTOOLKIT project has extended the reach of sustainability education across the continent, providing access to free teaching and learning materials.
“And our students have played a key role in our sustainability journey, and this award recognises not just the importance of sustainability in nursing, but the hard work of a committed and dynamic team.”
The concept behind NurSusTOOLKIT was developed internally at Plymouth, and trialled by nursing students working with undergraduates in product design to consider the implications of climate change for services and equipment used in hospitals.
Plymouth invited institutions from Spain, Germany and the Netherlands to work with them in taking the project forward, and together, with an EU grant, they developed the multilingual teaching materials that cover not just nursing and midwifery, but geography, design, public health, and health planning and management as well.
Associate Professor Louise Winfield, Interim Head of School for Nursing and Midwifery, added: “The University has a longstanding reputation for excellence in sustainability, and this award is further evidence of the way that our educators excel at embedding green principles across the curriculum.
“And for nursing education more widely, this is hugely significant as there is no requirement for sustainability to be taught in nursing. But the reception to NurSusTOOLKIT across the continent and at the highest levels has demonstrated the need and the appetite for it – and that has all originated here, in Plymouth, with our pioneering people.”
The partner institutions involved with Plymouth are Esslingen (Germany), Jaen (Spain) and Maastricht (the Netherlands), and their three-year development of the NurSusTOOLKIT materials was funded by the Erasmus+ initiative.
An example of the kind of exercises included in the materials includes asking students to consider how they could continue to deliver healthcare if equipment made from plastic was no longer available. Other activities are designed to make links between staying healthy and caring for the environment.
Further information can be found at www.nursus.eu
About the University of Plymouth
The University of Plymouth is renowned for high quality, internationally-leading education, research and innovation.
With a mission to Advance Knowledge and Transform Lives, Plymouth is a *top 50 research university with clusters of world class research across a wide range of disciplines including marine science and engineering, medicine, robotics and psychology. A twice winner of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education, the University of Plymouth continues to grow in stature and reputation.
It has a strong track record for teaching and learning excellence, and has one of the highest numbers of National Teaching Fellows of any UK university. With 21,000 students, and a further 17,000 studying for a Plymouth degree at partner institutions in the UK and around the world, and over 100,000 alumni pursuing their chosen careers globally, it has a growing global presence.
* Research Fortnight Research Power League Table 2014.