Enlightening and empowering students to take action: Embedding sustainability into nursing curriculum

Publication Name

Journal of Professional Nursing


Graduate nurses are set to face complex global challenges in their future careers. Yet, current pedagogical practices fall short in preparing the future workforce for what lies ahead. There is, thus, an urgent need to disrupt traditional nursing education methods in order to transform our society. Transformation includes ensuring our students are educated on their responsibility toward social, economic and environmental sustainability. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of global targets developed by the United Nations, offer a framework for engaging in higher education that promotes a better future; however, to date there are few examples of how the goals have been embedded into nursing curriculum. This article showcases a case study of how the SDGs can be integrated and taught in nursing higher education through the principles of critical pedagogy. Through significant course re-development in an Australian undergraduate nursing course, students engaged with the SDGs along a transformative continuum of enlightenment and empowerment to awaken critical consciousness. While this article offers some findings in relation to student development, the article's key contribution is in detailing the methodology and framework for embedding SDGs in nursing curricula and to encourage other nursing academics to take up the challenge to empower their students' to take action toward addressing global sustainability challenges.

Open Access Status

This publication may be available as open access



First Page


Last Page




Link to publisher version (DOI)