I envision walking into a med-room, accessing low-toxin medications from a reusable dispenser, and carrying them in a reusable pill cup into a patient room. Our hospital policy strives to minimize pharmaceutical therapy, maximizing use of complimentary and alternative therapies such as acupuncture and guided imagery for symptomatic relief of conditions such as pain and anxiety.
My patient is reclining in a chair on his balcony in the fresh air and afternoon sun. A portable cardiac monitor attached to the patient, powered by body heat, transmits vital signs in real-time to a central monitor at the nurse’s station. The floor of our unit has kinetic sensors inlaid, capturing the energy of our nurses’ continuous travels around the unit to contribute to our power supply.
Outside on a main balcony, a stroke patient develops returning fine motor skills in his left hand by pruning organic herbs and flowers in our tiny garden.
In a room down the hall, an elderly woman takes her last breath. Thanks to proactive education starting with her family doctor fifteen years prior and strong support from our hospital staff, she embraces the end of her life cycle with dignity, peace, and happiness – and without any needles or breathing tubes or highly stressful life-support medications. Her family celebrates her life and says goodbye in a warm and peaceful environment.
We are always improving, always evolving, and still have so much work to do. We are, however, headed in the right direction, employing healthy practices in the health care industry.
Erika Kimball, RN, BSN, is a staff nurse and Green Team lead at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, CA. She is dedicated to bringing sustainability to the health care industry.