Uniting Europe’s OH nursesOn 1 Aug 2003 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Thefirst of many regular features providing information and updates on the work ofFOHNEU and OH nursing in Europe, by Cynthia Atwell & Bernadette JacksonFOHNEUis the Federation of Occupational Health Nurses within the European Union.Itwas set up in 1993 when UK occupational health nurses (OHNs) organised asymposium, supported by a grant obtained for the European Week of Health andSafety, and invited OHN representatives from the then 12 member states toattend.Aftermuch deliberation, it was agreed that closer co-operation was needed and thusFOHNEU was born. Membership is open to all national OH nursing groups in theEurope Union (EU) and now represents around 45,000 OHNs in the EU. Each memberstate is allowed to have two representatives as board members.Boardmembers 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 nominatedrepresentatives, who are already elected members of the various UK RCN OHforums. They are: Cynthia Atwell and Fiona Colegrave, RCN SOHN; BernadetteJackson and Anne Henderson, RCN OHMF; Irene Bonnar and Maureen McBain, RCNScottish Forum for OHNs; Agatha Lions, RCN Northern Ireland SOHN; LyndaMulqueen, RCN Welsh OH Forum; and Carol Bannister, RCN OH adviser.Achair and vice-chair are elected by the group and are the two UK board memberson FOHNEU.CynthiaAtwell is the new chair and Bernadette Jackson vice-chair. The previousrepresentatives were Charles Graham and Daphne Bagley, who have recentlyretired from the group.Aimsof 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 andmanagement and to publish results–To establish links and networking opportunities between OH and safetypractitioners in different countries so that they can support each other–To share ideas and best practice in order to provide cost effective, qualityhealthcare for all EU businesses–To maintain open dialogue and support the EU organisations responsible forhealth and safety, as well as nursing authorities–Ensure the OHN’s role in workplace health and safety is recognised bygovernments, employers and workers’ representatives.Presentactivities and initiativesAnOHN core curriculum has been developed and will be published shortly. It isintended to provide a basic framework for education and training of nursesworking in occupational healthcare settings, within the EU. Thecore curriculum content aims to standardise OHN knowledge throughout the EU,particularly in countries where no programme exists. Although the course isoffered at a postgraduate level, the core curriculum alone does not provide aformal specialist qualification, and it may be developed at different levels ofprofoundness, according to the needs of the country. The core curriculum isintended to be a guide for OH nurse education and training within Europe. FOHNEUis also developing a website, www.fohneu.org, which should be fully up andrunning within the next few months.Theexecutive boardTheexecutive board is elected by FOHNEU members for a period of three years andhas the overall responsibility for its management and direction.Thereis a constitution, which was amended and approved in June 2001, that sets outthe overall aims and objectives, membership, finances, board meetings,liabilities and responsibilities.Thepresent executive board comprises: president Julie Staun, Denmark;vice-president Anne Bostrom, Finland; secretary Bonny van der Wolf,Netherlands, and treasurer Dirk Vermeulen, Belgium.FOHNEUmeetings are held bi-annually. The next FOHNEU board meeting will be heldduring the congress (see box). Wewill do our best to keep you informed of FOHNEU activities, as well as consultwith you on issues for debate. OccupationalHealth plans to have a regular slot for European activities and other FOHNEUmembers will be contributing.FOHNEUexecutive board to meet in HelsinkiFOHNEUis holding the 3rd International Congress in Helsinki, Finland, on 25-27September 2003.Thetheme is ‘Connecting Minds – Sharing the Vision’. There will be paperspresented by OH nurses from all over Europe and topics will include audit,rehabilitation, sickness absence management and stress, with the aim ofencouraging innovations in occupational health and safety practice, and therewill also be poster presentations. More information is available on theCongress website: www.stthl/fohneucongr2003.Joinus in Helsinki for what will be an informative and thought-provoking congress,and will give you the opportunity to network with colleagues from the rest ofEurope.