The first of many regular features providing information and updates on the work of FOHNEU and OH nursing in Europe, by Cynthia Atwell & Bernadette Jackson
FOHNEU is the Federation of Occupational Health Nurses within the European Union.
It was set up in 1993 when UK occupational health nurses (OHNs) organised a symposium, supported by a grant obtained for the European Week of Health and Safety, and invited OHN representatives from the then 12 member states to attend.
After much deliberation, it was agreed that closer co-operation was needed and thus FOHNEU was born. Membership is open to all national OH nursing groups in the Europe Union (EU) and now represents around 45,000 OHNs in the EU. Each member state is allowed to have two representatives as board members.
Board members are nominated by their country’s national associations, and, in the UK, this is through the RCN’s OH European group. This group consists of nominated representatives, who are already elected members of the various UK RCN OH forums. They are: Cynthia Atwell and Fiona Colegrave, RCN SOHN; Bernadette Jackson and Anne Henderson, RCN OHMF; Irene Bonnar and Maureen McBain, RCN Scottish Forum for OHNs; Agatha Lions, RCN Northern Ireland SOHN; Lynda Mulqueen, RCN Welsh OH Forum; and Carol Bannister, RCN OH adviser.
A chair and vice-chair are elected by the group and are the two UK board members on FOHNEU.
Cynthia Atwell is the new chair and Bernadette Jackson vice-chair. The previous representatives were Charles Graham and Daphne Bagley, who have recently retired from the group.
Aims of FOHNEU
- To ensure OHNs are competent and fully equipped to contribute to the health, safety and well-being of the EU’s working population
- To encourage OHNs to carry out research in areas of practice, education and management and to publish results
- To establish links and networking opportunities between OH and safety practitioners in different countries so that they can support each other
- To share ideas and best practice in order to provide cost effective, quality healthcare for all EU businesses
- To maintain open dialogue and suppor