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The Paperless Classroom

Back to Our Stories

In 2021, Amanda Welsh, a Practice Educator at the time at the BC Patient Transfer Network, saw an opportunity to save paper by digitizing their employee orientation program. With COVID, they needed to move the course online for health and safety. They could continue using print materials, or they could move the program online and save a lot of paper.

Amanda has always been a fan of innovating and improving the way we think about delivering content and saw this as an opportunity to reimagine the methods they use to interact with the course participants.

As a Green+Leader, a member of a network of health-care staff who are engaged in advancing sustainability practices within the health system, she was excited about the opportunity to decrease the program’s impact on the environment and to do a thorough assessment of the curriculum development process.

We were able to make the dream of a more sustainable, eco-friendly classroom a reality (…) the initiative was really a no-brainer for us

 

In the past, each participant was given a binder course pack. With approximately 20 participants a year, that amounted to approximately 5,000 sheets of paper used annually. Eliminating the production of paper course packs amounts to about five trees saved every three years[1], with the potential to have bigger impacts if applied to other curriculums across the health organization.

Another benefit of this initiative was that it allowed staff to access the orientation program remotely when social distancing was required. And now, the curriculum online, instructors and students can access up-to-date content that reflects current practices from anywhere.

The success of making the new employee orientation program paperless has been very rewarding for Amanda. She learned that even incremental changes can make an impact. For instance, her team is more thoughtful about their paper usage and that’s a culture shift. Even if only one tree is saved, our planet is better for it and that feels really great.

 

[1] Calculated using Paper Calculator 4.0 | Environmental Paper Network at an approximate count of 250 sheets per binder used by 20 participants annually, made from 0.6 trees