Occupational health nurses' perceptions of their education and training needs to meet the new public health agenda using the nominal group technique
This was a study to collect the views of Occupational Health Nurses (OHNs) working in the NHS in the West Midlands Region of the UK. It was a project to collect OHNs' perceptions about their education and training needs to meet the new public health agenda, using a focus group technique, Nominal Group Technique (NGT). There has been a series of public policy developments recently that have focused on the work/health dimension as an element of public health (Health and Safety Executive (HSE) 1998, Department of Health (DOH), 1998, National Health Service Executive (NHSE) 1998). These initiatives require the expertise and skill of occupational health professionals in the workplace to deliver care. In many organizations occupational health is not seen as a central or integral part of the organizational structure, rather a service to be used when things go dreadfully wrong. There is a clear need for management skills in this group, together with a much stronger grounding in law and the legislative framework. There is a need to take an evidence-based approach to occupational health, and to start sharing expert knowledge that can be applied to daily working in the NHS. It was identified that clarity around funding arrangements is necessary for this group of practitioners, which will be in line with all other NHS employees. Many of the participants wanted education and training opportunities, which were offered on an incremental basis, not all at specialist practitioner level.