Knowledge About Medical Waste Management: How do Healthcare Professionals Learn and Practice?


  • Ane Linden Unisinos
  • Amanda Werlang



Environmental sustainability, knowledge management in healthcare, workplace learning


The management and disposal of medical waste follow scientific protocols to ensure safety. However, the effective implementation of the medical waste management system depended on correct handling and segregation by the healthcare workers, during their daily activities. These professionals need to know about health waste management, since incorrect handling and disposal pose a potential risk to the environment and human health. This study aimed to analyze the knowledge regarding the management of medical waste of the healthcare teams working in the Family Health Strategy (FHS). Designed to provide preventive and basic healthcare using multidisciplinary professional teams, the FHS reflects many best practices.  The research was carried out in a city that is the 3rd economy in southern Brazil. This was a cross-sectional descriptive study with a quantitative approach, and data were assessed by using self-administered and pretested questionnaire. The study sample consisted of 74 participants, including doctors, nurses, and nursing technicians. Descriptive statistics were carried out to express participants’ demographic information, mean knowledge score, and the teaching strategies used with the team. The main research results show that the healthcare teams working in the Family Health Strategy have, in part, knowledge about the correct management of waste. Besides, they are sensitive, in general, to its impact on the environment. Nevertheless, the results highlighted that more practical training would be needed, to help healthcare workers with everyday doubts. Furthermore, the results show that it requires attention to rethinking the strategies used to train and develop knowledge and skills in health services.