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.”