A keynote address focused on the role of the NMC and asked whether all OH nurses should be registered
In her keynote address to delegates on the role of the new Nursing and Midwifery Council, Maureen Williams, professional officer for community nursing and health visiting at the NMC, invited delegates to deliberate on whether all OH practitioners should be registered.
Although the NMC will continue the work of its predecessor, the UKCC, in maintaining the register, setting standards and dealing with misconduct, its primary function is to promote good practice, said Williams.
"It's a new organisation with a new purpose, it must deal with bad practice but, more importantly, work for good practice."
And while the NMC is still charged with protecting the public through professional standards, it is also being pushed to develop partnerships with key stakeholders and employers, a change that will have a noticeable impact on occupational health nurses.
The challenge for the new council, she said, is to provide "evidence-based regulation through a performance-driven and public-focused organisation, while maintaining four-country- wide regulation, and always keeping in mind, national and regional sensitivity".
Remarking on the fact that there are only eight nurses on the council, of which only one is an OH nurse, William's told delegates: "It's a real challenge only having one representative on a council of 35."
For this reason, she pressed OH nurses to give serious thought to how the new council can best represent their needs when members are given the opportunity to vote for the first directly elected council in 2005.