The Association of Occupational Health Nurses Practitioners (AOHNP) will merge with the Faculty of Occupational Health Nursing (FOHN) when it launches in October next year, after members strongly backed the idea of the two organisations coming together.
A survey of AOHNP members was carried out in the summer and the results were revealed at its annual general meeting last month. Out of 172 responses, 95% backed the idea of a merger.
New AOHNP president Lucy Kenyon told Occupational Health & Wellbeing: “There was an overwhelming majority in favour of combining. There are, of course, still things that need to be ironed out but what is clear is that we are both very much on the same page.”
Kenyon, owner of OH consultancy Workability Solutions, took over as president of the association from Diane Romano-Woodward at the AGM, and her term will run for the next two years.
Under the merger plan, the AOHNP will, in effect, become the membership arm of the faculty.
“It will be like a hub and spoke, with the faculty being the hub. The faculty will be the body that sets standards, including national standards, for best practice and education.
“The association will then support that with all of the day-to-day basics it is really good at – social media, CPD, events, member support, and so on. But there will be a single governing board,” explained Christina Butterworth, chairman of the FOHN’s development group.
“The merger will also enable us to grow and extend our proposition. We’re looking at a range of health-related benefits that similar groups and associations offer, so it could be things like member legal support, indemnity insurance, access to online journals and databases, and so on,” agreed Kenyon.
While the probability is that the cost of membership will inevitably rise as a result, it will be a single membership covering both organisations; in other words, nurses will automatically be members of both organisations. The precise figure has yet to be decided.
AOHNP membership currently ranges from £66 a year for full membership, tapering down to £55 for associate members, and £20 for students, retired nurses or those who are unwaged or on maternity leave.
“My ambition is for us to grow our member benefits so that we become the association of choice for all nurses working within occupational health, whether that be students, RGNs working as health technicians or qualified occupational health nurses,” added Kenyon.