Faculty of Occupational Health Nursing moves a step closer to reality


Occupational health nurses aim to develop a new UK Faculty of Occupational Health Nursing over the next three years.

The aim is eventually to become a “one-stop shop” for OH nurses’ professional requirements, including representing OH nursing at a strategic level and within the OH community. In February, the Council for Work and Health offered support and guidance to develop the body.

A project development and consultation group is being formed, under the leadership of Jo Berriman, an experienced OH practitioner and senior associate at consultancy Mercer.

Berriman said: “Now is the time for all OH nurses to come together and really get behind this project to help us to make it happen. This is a great opportunity for occupational health nurses, for the specialism of occupational health generally, and most importantly, for the employers and employees we work with every day for whom we can, and do, make an enormous difference.”

The development group will engage with the OH nursing community to communicate progress and seek views during the project.

Meetings have been underway since October 2014 to discuss the faculty, following a vote by OH doctors in the Society of Occupational Medicine and Faculty of Occupational Medicine against forming a single body. The hope had been that a unified body would help the professional status of OH nurses.

Christina Butterworth, past president of the Association of Occupational Health Nurse Practitioners (UK), initially led discussions about the new faculty, and is a member of the project development group.

Butterworth said: “I am extremely excited about the prospect of achieving two of my greatest desires for OH nursing; a professional home that drives quality and supports individual development and, a professional body that sets standards and collaborates effectively with key stakeholders to deliver evidence-based best practice in occupational health.”

3 Responses to Faculty of Occupational Health Nursing moves a step closer to reality

  1. Caroline Whittaker 3 Apr 2015 at 4:54 pm #

    This is an interesting development especially as the RCN sacrificed RCN SOHN. However aren’t the aims of the proposed Faculty those of AOHNP how will the new Faculty differ?

  2. Anne Harriss 1 May 2015 at 12:14 pm #

    This is, indeed, a very interesting development. and agree with Caroline Whittaker that the RCN did indeed sacrifice the SOHN. I see the AOHNP being one of the significant driving forces behind the establishment of a Faculty of OHN. I envisage the two bodies would be supplementary but separate. A FOHN would sit next to FOM and other similar bodies. I also anticipate that the National School OH (NSOH) will eventually become an approval body for all OH programmes whether they be medicine, nursing, physiotherapy et al. The SCPHN register is likely to be disestablished and therefore NSOH accreditation will be of particular importance. Anne Harriss, Course Director OH Nursing and Board member NSOH

    • Noel O'Reilly
      Noel O'Reilly 18 May 2015 at 10:04 am #

      Thanks for that Anne – and Caroline too. It clarifies for me how the Faculty of OH Nursing would relate to the National School of OH, and I was very interested in your comments about the disestablishment of the SCPHN register – is this under open discussion with the NMC? I also wonder if it would be worth doing an article at some point on the respective roles of AOHNP and the new Faculty and how they will supplement each other as you describe. A lot of interesting developments here.