Nursing and the Sustainable Development Goals: A Scoping Review

Publication Name

Journal of Nursing Scholarship


Purpose: In 2015, all member states that comprise the United Nations unanimously adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of ambitious and inclusive targets toward global economic, social, and environmental betterment. Nurses have a key role to play in the achievement of the SDGs. The aim of this article was to conduct a scoping review to synthesize the literature related to nursing and the SDGs. Methods: This scoping review utilized Arksey and O’Malley’s five-stage framework. Several electronic databases were searched for literature published from 2015 to 2020 using the key words “nurse OR nurses OR nursing” and “Sustainable Development Goals OR SDGs”. Findings: A total of 447 articles were identified through the databases searches, of which 35 articles were deemed relevant and included for final review and content analysis. Analysis of relevant literature on nursing and the SDGs revealed two distinct, yet connected, perspectives: the nurse and the profession. Conclusions: Individual nurses may feel disconnected from the SDGs and struggle to relate the goals to their clinical role, calling for an increase in awareness and education on the goals. The wider profession could also increase both research and policy with relation to the SDGs, strengthening nursing’s position to have a voice in and contribute towards achievement of the goals. Clinical Relevance: Individual nurses and the wider nursing profession have opportunities to more meaningfully contribute to the SDGs, beginning with an increased awareness through education and a commitment to research and participation in local and global decision making.

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