Keynote speaker Paul Martin, chief nursing officer for Scotland, was embroiled in a heated debate over the difficulties many OHNs face in pursuing CPD, training and research.
Martin said there are four key objectives for nurses:
- Not to lose sight of ‘why we are here’
- To ensure access to training and development
- To ensure nurses engage in research, development and policy
- To ensure nurses recognise their leadership responsibilities.
If we get it right in terms of quality patient care, he said, we get it right for nurses.
However, when questioned by delegates on why there is little or no funding to help nurses in research or training, he responded by saying it is for individual nurses to pursue their own training needs and fund these themselves if necessary.
Some delegates agreed with this line of thinking, but a number felt that the lack of funding to help to encourage more research and learning by OH nurses ran contrary to his professed aims.
During his talk, Martin touched on other issues such as clinical competence, the state of Scottish workers’ health and the growth of sickness absence figures.
He said that by doing the job they do, OH practitioners contribute to the economy, and asked whether delegates were contributing to a well-being agenda which shifts from the dependence on care of the sick to a culture that promotes self care and healthy working.
Martin has created a policy forum for nurses that focuses on policy development and its implementation that links across Scotland. When questioned, he admitted that there are currently no OH nurses on the forum but told delegates that it was up to OHNs to get involved.