The Faculty of Occupational Medicine (FOM) is urging members to volunteer as faculty ‘ambassadors’ at medical schools to encourage more students to choose occupational medicine and occupational health as a career.
This work is being led by Dr Richard Peters, chief medical officer at Network Rail, who works with the faculty to ensure benchmark standards for the teaching of the occupational medicine at medical schools are met.
“I want to raise the profile of occupational medicine in the medical student community,” he said.
“This call for faculty ambassadors is the first step in a range of measures which I hope will result in more student members in the faculty and ultimately more specialist doctors,” he added.
If occupational health and occupational medicine are to meet the growing demand for workplace health support and intervention, especially post pandemic, it is widely recognised the profession will have to address its longstanding workforce and capacity constraints.
One way to do this is for more training places to be created and for the profession to become a more attractive career destination for medical students in the first place.
Occupational health reform
“Whatever industry you are interested in, occupational medicine plays a vital role and students need more information about the specialty at medical school,” Dr Peters.
“I hope FOM members who have connections to medical schools – or those keen to pass on their experience – will come forward. We can then discuss a plan of action to encourage and inspire students,” he added.
Those who are interested in becoming a faculty ambassador can email [email protected], Dr Peters said.
FOM president Dr Steve Nimmo highlighted the profession’s ongoing capacity issues, and the need to rethink workforce planning, at a recent SOM (Society of Occupational Medicine) ‘summit’ on how to expand OH provision to provide universal access to workplace health support.
He also indicated that, while it is still early days, the faculty is working on developing a new modular diploma in occupational health practice, potentially targeted at OH nurses and allied health professionals, and based on the existing diploma in occupational medicine. “We’ve had a huge amount of enthusiasm from nurses,” he said.