For Health Professionals
How to Prescribe Nature in 1 Minute
What do you get in return?
- Low cost intervention to connect your patients to Nature.
- Ability to track park prescription and patient adherence/follow through.
- Opportunities for quality improvement in your practice.
- Networking among a Nationwide group of providers focusing on prevention and wellness.
There is a growing body of scientific evidence showing a strong relationship between spending time in nature and improved health outcomes (both physical and mental). Incorporating a nature script into your routine clinical practice has never been easier. Currently, we have over 1196 registered prescribers in the United States and from around the world, who have registered with us to routinely prescribe nature. It's not only the right thing to do, and easy to combine with the counseling you already do, but it's also fun!
Step 1: get registered
Step 2: watch a 1 min video
Step 3: start prescribing
For every unique nature prescription, the prescriber is prompted to document whether s/he/they have permission from the patient to send the patient's mobile phone number or email address to PRA. For every unique prescription for which a patient gives permission to have their healthcare professional share their phone number or email address, PRA uses that phone number or email address to ask the patient for consent to receive reminders to fill their nature prescription. If the patient does not consent, PRA expunges their phone number or email address (PHI). Because PRA does not provide Health services, we do not fall under the purview of HIPAA. Nevertheless, PRA works closely with our attorneys to make sure that we take every possible measure to protect the confidentiality of the patient. You will automatically be taken through this process each time you write a prescription.
Every intervention and/or recommendation we provide for our patients has a risk and a benefit. In that respect, nature prescriptions are no different from medication prescriptions. The single most important thing you can do when writing a nature prescription is to ask your patient where they feel safe and comfortable, rather than making assumptions about the safety of place with which you are not familiar. Remind your patients to be aware of their surroundings. Consider recommending the absence of speakers or earbuds when filling a nature prescription to both increase their awareness of their surroundings and engage better with their natural environment.
Yes, you have the ability to write custom prescriptions using our "custom destination" feature. Ask your patient where they feel safe and comfortable. It might be a backyard, common area in an apartment complex, or even a tree outside their window. Given the unpredictability of weather, it might even be sitting near a window with a view out onto nature. You will find this feature on the homepage of our prescribing platform.
Doctors, nurses, physician assistants, health educators, therapists, educators and other providers can all write prescriptions. Given the diversity of practice settings, and the degree to which providers work within teams, writing a park or nature prescription and following up with patients can easily become a shared practice.
When you are generating a reminder, simply separate two or more mobile phone numbers with a comma, and the reminder will be sent to all. The same is true for using an email address.
- Keep parkrxamerica.org open on your work computers
- Log in and stay logged in
- Put a Post-it note on your computer that says "prescribe nature"
- Use one of our posters to put on the back of your exam door or on the walls of your exam room, to remind your patients to remind you to ask them about nature prescriptions
- Promote friendly competition in the office among your colleagues to see who can write the most prescriptions per month
- Make sure that park prescriptions becomes a regular monthly agenda item at your office or departmental meetings
- Involve your nurse manager/office manager in the promotion of writing nature prescriptions
Rather than thinking about writing a nature prescription as something "in addition to," think about this as a tweak in the work that you already do in counseling your patients. Many of you already take time to counsel your patients regarding lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise, but may not be taking advantage of the tremendous functionality (daily reminders, commitment to place, activity, dose, and frequency, patient response to filling a prescription) of our platform. Like any new change in your practice (use of new medication or diagnostic test) it might take a little time to get used to it. Be patient with yourself.
Given that each of us develops our own style of practice and the flow, there is no right or wrong way to incorporate a brief conversation about spending time in nature with your patient. Here are some ways that our growing community of nature prescribers incorporate a question about nature into the office visit:
- How much time do you spend outside?
- Where is that place that you like to go where you feel safe and comfortable outside?
- Is there a park or nature setting where you wish you spent more time?
- Where do you go outside to relax and de-stress/unwind?
- Is there a place you go outside where you have a strong connection?
- Did you know that spending time outside can help to improve your _______ (diabetes, high blood pressure, High cholesterol, chronic stress, memory, cognitive function, ADHD)?
- Have you ever thought about taking a few minutes every day to notice what's happening around you in the natural world?