As OH becomes ever more collaborative and multidisciplinary, it is going to be increasingly important to ensure that the voice of OH nurses is not lost, the incoming new president of the Association of Occupational Health Nurse Practitioners UK (AOHNP) has warned.
Diane Romano-Woodward, director at OH consultancy Sunny Blue Sky Ltd, will be taking over from Christina Butterworth following the association’s annual general meeting on 20 November.
A former Occupational Health nurse of the year, in her first interview with Occupational Health, Romano-Woodward said Butterworth would be a hard act to follow
“Christina Butterworth has done a great job; there have been some real achievements while she has been in office,” she said.
“It is a challenging and interesting time for occupational health,” she added, highlighting the failure this autumn of the Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM) and Faculty of Occupational Medicine (FOM) to agree on becoming a single organisation, as well as the expected launch later this year of the Government’s new Health and Work Service.
The association, which has around 650 members, had been working closely with the SOM and FOM on the move towards creating a single body.
With that process now stalled, the future leadership role of the association, as one of the key bodies representing OH nurses, is firmly in the spotlight.
“We will be looking at how we can contribute and how we can be involved, how we can put our point forward and really have an input,” conceded Romano-Woodward.
“I think we do need to look more closely at how we use resources such as the internet and social media to communicate with our members. We need to get better at using technology. One of my priorities, for example, will be to get members to become active commentators.
“We need to find where we fit, as OH advisers and, within all these new developments, ensure the voice of occupational health nursing continues to be heard.
“There is very little in the way of representation for the OH nurse now that the Royal College of Nursing no longer has a dedicated OH group, so it is important we look at how we can continue to make our voice heard,” she added.