Targeting education

FOHNEU meetings are held twice a year, and in April 2005 the FOHNEU meeting was held in Gothenburg, Sweden, hosted by the Swedish OH Nurses Association, and OH consultants Cynthia Atwell and Bernadette Jackson attended for the UK.

The Core Curriculum for OH Nursing has been published and will shortly be available on the FOHNEU website (see end of article). The content aims to standardise OH nursing education throughout the European Union, particularly in countries where no programme exists.

The proposed project Harmonising OHN Education in the EU (HONEU) is being funded through the Leonardo fund. It will develop a standardised recognised qualification at degree level for professionals who are involved in workplace health management in Europe, primarily OHNs. It is to be managed by the University of Sheffield, and Denmark, Slovenia, Poland and Ireland will be taking part, together with input from FOHNEU.

The aim of this project is:

– To develop a network of OH professionals, from both academia and practice, to share knowledge, expertise and collaborative research and training

– To develop a standard qualification for OHNs that can be adopted and recognised throughout Europe

– To provide access to appropriate accreditation, which facilitates the mobility of OHN’s within the EU

– To expand OH capability and capacity to support and implement EU directives aimed at improving the health, safety and well-being of the European workforce

– To establish, in response to the EU agenda for health, a benchmark programme for OH that all member states can aspire to.

Data on the current education of OHNs throughout the EU is based mainly on anecdotal information, while findings show major discrepancies between countries.

With the development of the Core Curriculum, FOHNEU has undertaken a survey of OHN education in EU countries. The aim of this study was to find out to what extent OH nurses are educated and practise under statutory requirements within the EU, as well as the extent to which the Core Curriculum developed by FOHNEU has been implemented so far. The findings of the study will be published in OH journals throughout Europe in the coming months.

Last year saw additional countries join the EU and FOHNEU has made contact with all the new member countries. Each of the present members has been ‘twinned’ with a new one and the UK has been twinned with Malta. The Maltese representatives have been unable to attend any of the meetings to date, but we are keeping them appraised of the work of FOHNEU.

The UK has put in a bid to host the 2007 FOHNEU Congress. This is being progressed and it is hoped a final decision will be made shortly, including the date and venue.

If the UK is successful, it will replace the usual RCN OH conferences including the Society of Occupational Health Nurses, Occupational Health Managers Forum, Scottish and Welsh conferences, as it is hoped that UK delegates would attend this high-profile event. We will keep you informed via Occupational Health and you will be able to access more information on the FOHNEU website.

The FOHNEU website has also been updated and will continue to be, as new items become available from various member countries. The federation has produced a new leaflet about its work and a limited supply will be available via your local RCN OH Group.

Go to for further information

The next FOHNEU board meeting will be in Athens from 9-11 September 2005.

Cynthia Atwell is chair of the RCN OH European Group and board member of FOHNEU. Bernadette Jackson is vice chair of the RCN OH European Group and board member of FOHNEU


The aims of FOHNEU were presented in Occupational Health in 2003:

– To contribute to the total health, safety and well-being of the European working population

– To raise the profile of Occupational Health Nursing within the European Union

– To promote training, education and standards of professional qualifications and practice

– To encourage research into areas of occupational health practice, education and management, with publication of the results

– To maintain an open dialogue with EU organisations responsible for health and safety, public health and EU nursing authorities

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