Support occupational health nurses and we’ll get involved


Jeremy Smith’s article (Comment, June 2009) was an excellent response to Dr Richard Preece’s ‘Devil’s Advocate’ comment piece which criticised OH nurses for failing to get more involved with evidence-based practice.

For many of us, our failure to participate in the greater debate is not about lack of ability or motivation, but those two often-overlooked resources, time and money.

As a group, OH nurses are predominantly female and many are working mothers.

There is ‘evidence-based’ research that supports the view that this can make us stressed. Frone (2000)1 and Noor (2002)2 have clearly demonstrated a link between work-family conflict and a resultant negative impact on mental health.

But there is a ‘silver lining’. Grzywacz and Marks (2000)3 ­indicated that there can be a ‘positive’ as well as a ‘negative spill-over’ and with the right support both spheres can benefit.

We have to juggle expertly while keeping a close eye on our own needs, which is not always easy when there is nothing left in the budget for luxuries such as extra childcare or a cleaner.

Throw in an extra time-based strain such as research and you almost need to be a time ­management genius to manage the equation.

I am neither, but I am in my second year of an MSc in organisational psychiatry and psychology at King’s College London and this has only been possible because I have a very supportive partner and domestic support.

I will be carrying out some research in the near future after it has been submitted and agreed by the King’s Ethics committee and therefore would be grateful for the participation of my OH ­colleagues.

Jane Downey, AOHNP member and OH adviser (self-employed)


1 Frone M R [2000] Interpersonal conflict at work and psychological outcomes: testing a model among young workers. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, Apr; 5(2): 246-55

2 Noor N M [2002] Work-family conflict, locus of control, and women’s well-being: tests of alternative pathways. Journal of Social Psychology, Oct; 142(5): 645-62

3 Grzywacz, J.G., and Marks, N.F. (2000). Reconceptualising The Work-Family Interface: An Ecological Perspective On The Correlates Of Positive And Negative Spillover Between Work And Family, Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 5, 111-126


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