October/November 2016 (vol. 13/3)

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The state of OH nursing, part 1

Part 1: A national survey of occupational health nurses


The first of a two-part report on the largest ever survey of occupational health nurses in the UK examines the extent to which they feel professionally represented and whether or not a new body – a ‘faculty of occupational health nursing’ is needed to take the profession forward.

There is no single organisation representing occupational health (OH) professionals in the UK. The outcome of a vote by the respective memberships of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine (FOM) and Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM) in September 2014 prevented those societies merging and creating an all-inclusive membership body for all UK OH practitioners. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) wound up its Society of Occupational Health Nursing in 2009 and despite the setting up of an alternative OH nurse membership body, the Association of Occupational Health Nurse Practitioners (UK) (AOHNP (UK)) in 1992, most of the estimated one OH nurse for every 9,700 UK workers1 are not represented by a dedicated professional body

This is the most comprehensive survey ever carried out on the experiences and opinions of OH nurses. It was designed to gauge to what extent they feel represented and whether or not a new body – a ‘faculty of occupational health nursing’ (FOHN) – was needed. Could such an organisation represent the interests of all OH nurses, what should its functions be and how could it work alongside existing OH and general nursing bodies?

This report is based on a survey carried out in April/May 2016 jointly by the Faculty of Occupational Health Nursing Development Group and the independent research and publishing organisation The At Work Partnership. It was completed by 1,429 OH and allied nurses…

This feature article is now available on an open access basis. It can be accessed here

Dr John Ballard is editor of Occupational Health [atWork] and director of The At Work Partnership. The organisation is independent of the FOHN Development Group.

Karen Coomer is an occupational health nurse practitioner and the director of KC Business Health Ltd. She is deputy-leader of the FOHN Development Group.

Author: Ballard J and Coomer K


Occupational Health at Work October/November 2016 (vol. 13/3) pp17-28

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