Anthony Vesco RN, MSN

Contributor: Nursing Green Program 


I have been in Emergency Room nursing for more than 12 years and I am proud to be helping our Veterans. It is exciting to become a part of The Nursing Office Team.


My goal is to speak to you about the importance of how Nursing can take an active role within the environmental revolution that is happening right before our very eyes. I have always been an advocate for environmental issues. Recently, I have found myself researching and learning more about how small collective measures can make great differences in the future of our environment.


The Green Movement is all around us today. Every time we turn on a radio or television, we see an advertisement for a company that is seeking ways to make a difference in their environmental footprint. This can be found in simple ideas like recycling, paperless statements, the use of less caustic cleaning agents, waste management, energy conservation and the development of renewable clean energy sources. These environmental efforts are pertinent in healthcare as well.


Nursing remains the backbone of health systems worldwide. If we strive for better health for all people, it will be through evidence that we are a strong profession that is committed to a sound nursing practice. Nurses worldwide should be engaged in all aspects of health policy as well as politics. We should be taking an active interest in how environmental concerns can affect healthcare both in our communities and throughout the world.


My New Year’s resolution for 2012 is to do my part in making my own environmental impact. My hope is to educate as many people in my neighborhood and in our profession about how small measures taken today, can make a tremendous impact for the future.


Start with baby steps. Do you make an effort to recycle in your home?


One Green Dot at a time

Connecting Little Green Dots for a Greener Planet

Hospital and medical wastes contribute more than significant amount of pollution in the environment. As nurses, we are very much aware of how much garbage we accumulate everyday.  If we will all do simple little things and efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle, that would make our earth a million times greener. If we all remember, in the theories of nursing, the person and the environment can never be separated, therefore, nurses should move forward nursing both the people and the earth that host them. 

Green Dot #1

Crossing the First Barrier: “I and Me”

When you are in the bedside, you can only see white linens under and over the patient. You will not even think of how green you can be in any way in this environment. Awareness should start from within us, in our personal lives and habits and everyday lifestyles. We should think green to save the planet and we will find out that practice will follow. The next time you will change those linens, you will think again: do I have to? Is it soiled? Think of the manpower and energy costs to bring those linens back to your bedside.  


Green Dot #2


Save water in a lot of ways


  1. Never put water down the drain when there may be another use for it such as watering a plant or garden, or cleaning.
  2. Verify that your home is leak-free, because many homes have hidden water leaks. Read your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak.
  3. Repair dripping faucets by replacing washers. If your faucet is dripping at the rate of one drop per second, you can expect to waste 2,700 gallons per year which will add to the cost of water and sewer utilities, or strain your septic system.
  4. Check for toilet tank leaks by adding food coloring to the tank. If the toilet is leaking, color will appear within 30 minutes. Check the toilet for worn out, corroded or bent parts. Most replacement parts are inexpensive, readily available and easily installed. (Flush as soon as test is done, since food coloring may stain tank.)
  5. Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily. Dispose of tissues, insects and other such waste in the trash rather than the toilet.
  6. Take shorter showers. Replace you showerhead with an ultra-low-flow version. Some units are available that allow you to cut off the flow without adjusting the water temperature knobs.
  7. Use the minimum amount of water needed for a bath by closing the drain first and filling the tub only 1/3 full. Stopper tub before turning water. The initial burst of cold water can be warmed by adding hot water later.
  8. Don't let water run while shaving or washing your face. Brush your teeth first while waiting for water to get hot, then wash or shave after filling the basin.
  9. Retrofit all wasteful household faucets by installing aerators with flow restrictors.
  10. Operate automatic dishwashers and clothes washers only when they are fully loaded or properly set the water level for the size of load you are using.
  11. When washing dishes by hand, fill one sink or basin with soapy water. Quickly rinse under a slow-moving stream from the faucet.
  12. Store drinking water in the refrigerator rather than letting the tap run every time you want a cool glass of water.
  13. Do not use running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods. Defrost food overnight in the refrigerator or by using the defrost setting on your microwave.
  14. Kitchen sink disposals require lots of water to operate properly. Start a compost pile as an alternate method of disposing food waste instead of using a garbage disposal. Garbage disposals also can add 50% to the volume of solids in a septic tank which can lead to malfunctions and maintenance problems.
  15. Consider installing an instant water heater on your kitchen sink so you don't have to let the water run while it heats up. This will reduce heating costs for your household.
  16. . Insulate your water pipes. You'll get hot water faster plus avoid wasting water while it heats up.
  17. Never install a water-to-air heat pump or air-conditioning system. Air-to-air models are just as efficient and do not waste water.
  18. Install water softening systems only when necessary. Save water and salt by running the minimum amount of regenerations necessary to maintain water softness. Turn softeners off while on vacation.
  19. Check your pump. If you have a well at your home, listen to see if the pump kicks on and off while the water is not in use. If it does, you have a leak.
  20. When adjusting water temperatures, instead of turning water flow up, try turning it down. If the water is too hot or cold, turn the offender down rather than increasing water flow to balance the temperatures.
  21. If the toilet flush handle frequently sticks in the flush position, letting water run constantly, replace or adjust it.