Next month (October) sees the launch of the new Faculty of Occupational Health Nursing, the membership organisation that, it is hoped, will serve as a springboard for nurse-led OH research, professional best practice, education and standards and, crucially, could act as a powerful voice for OH nurses both inside and outside the profession.
The faculty will have three core workstreams: creating and disseminating standards and best professional practice; developing education and OH nurse careers; and acting as an advocate for the profession.
Although it will physically share the offices of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine in Greenwich, south London, it will primarily be a virtual organisation, with webinars, a website and a LinkedIn group as well as a pipeline of research, guidance and standards for OH nurses and the sharing of research.
The cost of membership will initially be £120 for a year for OH nurses and £80 a year for “affiliates” – or anyone or any organisation with an interest in OH and the core objectives of the faculty.
“Obviously, building the membership base is going to take time, whether we end up with 100 or 1,000. I’d hope that at the very least we’d be able to achieve perhaps 500 members as a starting point,” faculty chief operating officer Christina Butterworth told Occupational Health & Wellbeing.
Back in June, it emerged that a proposed merger of the faculty and the Association of Occupational Health Nurse Practitioners (AOHNP) would not be going ahead.
However, the faculty has said it intends to honour the original promise to AOHNP members of discounted membership for the first year of operation.
The intention is also to hold CPD workshops on key projects throughout each year as well as a networking and professional best practice conference.
“Part of ensuring OHNs have a strong voice will be us holding an annual conference, which we’re hoping will be in June next year,” said Butterworth.
“We want to ensure OHNs or nurses working with occupational health are proud of their achievements; we want to be showcasing good practice.
“It is also about connecting people with their peers; it is about helping OHNs to realise that, even if they are working single-handed or in isolation, they are not alone in their practice. It is very much about trying to create a one-stop-shop for OH nurses,” she added.
The faculty will be an independent charitable organisation but will retain close links to the National School of Occupational Health and Council for Work and Health.