A consortium of occupational health practitioners is lobbying the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to clarify exactly what core competencies OH nurses should have now that they have been moved to the third part of the professional register.
Many OH nurses and trainers are worried that bringing OH nursing within the specialist community public health nurse part of the register in 2004 – alongside school nurses and health visitors – has led to a dilution in the quality of OH education just as it moves increasingly into the political and employment spotlight.
Now an Occupational Health Training Competency Group consisting of commercially employed, NHS and independent OH practitioners has been set up to raise the issue with the NMC.
Judith Howard-Rees, director of Stowmarket-based Gipping Occupational Health, told Occupational Health its aim was to ensure that, by September next year, all NMC-approved OH specialist practitioner training was “appropriate, effective, relevant, current and readily accessible”.
The danger was courses being accredited by the NMC that did not contain a huge amount of OH within them, or, where they did, were too focused on clinical issues, and did not have enough of a health and safety, HR or business focus too, she argued.
The group held its first meeting in March this year, and was due to be raising its views with the NMC last month [October] as the council held a series of ‘summits’ for employers of nurses around the country on the competencies of nurses.
The summits are part of a wide-ranging consultation on pre-registration nursing education being launched by the NMC from this month.
OH practitioners who are interested in contacting the Occupational Health Training Competency Group can e-mail: [email protected]