This month’s letters
Appointment for nurses
I recently wrote to the HSE to enquire if they have ever considered
establishing "appointed nurses" – suitably qualified and specifically
trained OH nurses to conduct medical reviews.
I received a reply stating that they had never considered it, nor have any
plans to do so.
I believe OH nurses would be just as proficient at conducting health reviews
of classified radiation workers as medical practitioners.
Nurses are taking on more roles traditionally considered the domain of
doctors. If nurses can be trained to intubate, cannulate and defibrillate, then
they can be trained and trusted to carry out health assessments.
The benefits would be that nurses would extend their role and relieve their
physician colleagues of some of the mundane work of performing health reviews
on a regular basis.
I have been working as an OH nurse in the nuclear industry for over 20
years, and the logistics of getting appointed doctors and the medical records
and sometimes staff together can be troublesome for busy doctors.
The HSE could make the specification for nurse signing of health registers
fairly prescriptive. I realise this would entail amendments to the present
legislation, but this can be achieved, all it takes is the will to do so.
I can see some traditional medical practitioners throwing their hands up in
horror at this suggestion, but by careful consideration they would see that
they would benefit by sharing their workload with another health professional.
I have spoken to a few medical practitioners who also operate as
"appointed doctors" and they welcome the idea.
I would be interested to know what other OH nurses and physicians have to
Ian Cooper Bsc (Hons) RGN RMN ONHCert PHEC NEBOSH
Lily gilds OH editorial board
I would like to extend my congratulations to Lily Lim on her election to
chair of the Association of Nurse Educators (April OH, p4) and am delighted
that she is taking my place on the editorial board.
Lily Lim will be a great advocate and voice for occupational health nursing
and in particular, that she will continue to raise the profile and voice of
occupational health nurse educators. I will continue to support the work of the
journal and editorial board and look forward to contributing to the academic
and practice debates that are ahead of us.
Education officer, English National Board