Seven percent of the total carbon footprint of the Netherlands is related to the healthcare sector. The operating room alone is responsible for approximately 20-30% of the hospital waste and pollution is increasing with the development of new technologies and materials. That is why the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for Sustainability and Medical Delta are jointly starting the Interdisciplinary Thesis Lab ‘Sustainable Hospitals’ for Master's students, which revolves around the question: how can we move towards an environmentally sustainable hospital?
The current climate problem requires cooperation from professionals in various fields. It is therefore important that students learn to speak each other's language early in their career in order to promote optimal cooperation.'
Kim van Nieuwenhuizen, coördinator Thesis Lab 'Sustainable Hospitals' at Medical Delta: 'The current climate problem requires cooperation from professionals in various fields. It is therefore important that students learn to speak each other's language early in their career in order to promote optimal cooperation. A diverse group of master's students participate in the Interdisciplinary Thesis Lab 'Sustainable Hospitals', who seek this collaboration in order to arrive at practical sustainable solutions. I'm very curious to see what these collaborations will lead to, but above all, how they will get there.'
Kick-off LDE Thesis Lab 'Sustainable Hospitals'
On February 9 the kick-off of the four LDE Thesis Labs on the theme of sustainability will take place. The participating students will then get to know each other and officially start their research. The Interdisciplinary Thesis Lab 'Sustainable Hospitals' of the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for Sustainability and Medical Delta has eleven participants from the universities in Leiden, Delft, Rotterdam and Twente.
The students come from different disciplines, such as Industrial Ecology, Biomedical Engineering and Global Business and Sustainability. Together they approach sustainability from different perspectives. Examples of research assignments are sustainable and patient-safe treatments, the reuse of medical instruments used in the Operating Room, and the implementation of green initiatives in the management and organisation of healthcare.
Two students talk about why they participate in the Thesis Lab 'Sustainable Hospitals'.
In terms of making healthcare more sustainable, there is still a lot to gain, such as energy consumption, the use of plastic and the circular use of medical instruments.'
Lisanne Wigchert, Master's student Biomedical Engineering, TU Delft: 'In terms of making healthcare more sustainable, there is still a lot to gain, such as energy consumption, the use of plastic and the circular use of medical instruments. I will deal with the latter in the near future. As a master's student of Biomedical Engineering at TU Delft, circularity really appeals to me; By looking at the possibilities of re-processing, re-manufacturing and/or re-using medical instruments (or parts thereof), the raw materials used can be used much smarter and more efficiently. In addition, the (further) optimization of medical instruments is being examined from a technical point of view. In this way, medical instruments will last longer and healthcare will become more sustainable. I am happy to contribute to that!'
To increase my knowledge about sustainability, I have therefore decided to join the thesis lab 'Sustainable Hospitals'.'
Elaine van Ee, Master's student Health Care Management, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam: 'I look forward to participating in the thesis lab 'Sustainable Hospitals' to learn more about sustainability in healthcare and which factors play a role in the whole process. For my master's thesis in Health Care Management, I will focus on increasing awareness of sustainability in health care management and organization. To increase my knowledge about sustainability, I have therefore decided to join the thesis lab 'Sustainable Hospitals', where I will discuss, learn and exchange knowledge with other students!'
Direct influence on making hospital care more sustainable
The participating students will receive biweekly lectures, go on excursions and have meetings with stakeholders for the next five months, so that they can exchange ideas with each other and with experts. The research results are made available to healthcare professionals, scientists, doctors and/or patients in the form of practical solutions, so that the graduates have a direct influence on the sustainability of hospital care.
Not only as the chairman, but also as a surgical specialist, I am looking forward to applying or implementing the results myself.’
Prof. dr. Frank Willem, chairman of Medical Delta and landelijk netwerk Groene OK: ‘New insights from young researchers on this theme are urgently needed to make healthcare more sustainable. Many healthcare professionals want to get started, and sustainability is also on the agenda of hospital boards. The studies that result from the Interdisciplinary Thesis Lab Sustainable Hospitals will help them to reach their goal. Not only as the chairman, but also as a surgical specialist, I am looking forward to applying or implementing the results myself.
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