Ensuring the show must go on

Dealing with the daily physical, mental and emotional needs
of a team of actors was the theme of Yve Corkett’s talk on her role as the OH
nurse at the Royal National Theatre.

 

In a fascinating insight into the challenges of running an
occupational health service for the performing artist, Corkett admitted that
first aid skills were a big prerequisite of the job, as is the courage to send
a leading actor home if he or she is simply not fit to perform.

 

The duties of an occupational health nurse working within
the acting profession include an understanding of the specialised health and
safety issues within the theatre, voice care, musculoskeletal care, performance
anxiety, health screening (including audiometry) and dealing with performers
who range in age from three months to 91 years.

 

The occupational health nurse must also gain a good rapport
with other specialists, including orthopaedic consultants, ear, nose and throat
specialists and psychiatrists.

 

Monitoring the emotional stability of a team of actors may
sound a daunting chore, but, said Corkett, actors are "no more neurotic
than other people, they are just more honest and open about their
feelings".

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