Sustainable healthcare education: A systematic review of the evidence and barriers to inclusion

Lucy Bray*, Katerina Meznikova, Paul Crampton, Trevor Johnson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose of the article: Health professions education is failing to prepare students to practice sustainable healthcare despite the climate crisis an urgent provision of educational opportunities is required. This systematic review aimed to synthesise educational approaches applied to sustainable healthcare education within health professions curricula and critically evaluate their impact. Materials and methods: Databases searched: APA PsycInfo, BEI, CINAHL, Embase, ERIC, Medline, Scopus, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, BASE, DART-Europe, EThOS and ProQuest. Secondary searching techniques were also utilised, with searching conducted October 2021. Eligible studies included healthcare professional students/trainees, exposed to sustainable healthcare education, and evaluated through impact on knowledge, attitudes or skills. Empirical studies of any publication status were included. Non-English language studies were excluded. Eligible studies were quality assessed using JBI (2022) critical appraisal checklists and synthesised narratively. Results: Twenty-three studies were included, comprising 3343 participants and seven health professions. Studies primarily adopted a quasi-experimental design and demonstrated variable quality. Most common educational approaches were workshops and clinical skills sessions, though eight different approaches were observed. Positive impacts were achieved for knowledge, attitudes and skills. Conclusions: Diverse approaches have been applied to sustainable healthcare education, though no superior approach is evident. Instead, many effective approaches are outlined, to be adopted in alignment with the learning outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-166
Number of pages10
JournalMedical Teacher
Issue number2
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Mr David Curtis for his help in preparing the search strategy for this systematic review. This study was completed in partial fulfilment of an MSc in Health Professions Education at Hull York Medical School.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • best evidence medical education
  • health promotion
  • Multiprofessional
  • public health
  • staff development

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