Incorporating climate change into Doctor of Nursing Practice curricula

Mary T. Quinn Griffin, Celeste M. Alfes, Freida Chavez, Emerson E. Ea, Kelly A. Lynn, Margaret A. Rafferty, Joyce J. Fitzpatrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Climate change is a global crisis with major impacts on planetary health and quality of life. Nurses are well positioned to recognize the major health consequences of climate change on health. Therefore, highlighting nurses’ active engagement in mitigating climate change impact and resilience efforts is essential. However, there is little evidence of climate change content in nursing curricula. Climate change/planetary health content could be integrated into existing Doctor of Nursing Practice programs so that graduates, as influential leaders, are equipped to meet the challenges ahead. The domains, competencies and sub-competencies outlined in the Essentials: Core competencies for professional nursing education (American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), 2021) are proposed as a curricular scaffold to integrate climate change content in DNP curricula. Climate change content matched to the AACN domains and competencies could be included in many existing DNP courses. Climate change would become a consistent concept throughout all DNP curricular programs rather than a specified course addressing climate change. The curricular structure presented would provide a foundation for enhancing DNP students' knowledge, attitudes and skills related to climate change. These students and future graduates would be well prepared to introduce changes in practices and policies at the local, national, and global levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-161
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Professional Nursing
StatePublished - Sep 1 2022


  • AACN essentials
  • Climate change education
  • DNP curricula
  • Planetary health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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