Keep pace with a changing world

The onus is on OH professionals to keep their finger on the workplace pulse
in order to get results

Today’s constant changes in work practices and policies pose a challenge for
OH professionals, requiring them to routinely reflect on what they do and how
they do it.

This was the message from RCN OH adviser Carol Bannister who looked at
recent changes in work trends and changes in nursing practice and how they have
influenced the role of OH professionals.

Communities have seen massive changes, she said, with the introduction of
new work practices and the decline of old industries.

In the past OH was disease-focused and heavy industry- focused. Its role was
supporting medical services and providing treatment and emergency care.

Current issues are based on smaller businesses and the wide use of
information technology. Home working, the use of e-mail and hotdesking are all
patterns that have recently emerged.

People are more likely to have a number of careers during their work life.
And people with disabilities or impairments have greater access to work.

Occupational health nurses have never had such a good opportunity to
influence change for employees, Bannister said.

They are knowledge managers who know when to empower other people to take
action, she said.

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