Taking a Public Health Approach in the Workplace: A Guide for Occupational Health Nurses | National Resource for Infection Control (NRIC)

Taking a Public Health Approach in the Workplace: A Guide for Occupational Health Nurses

Best practice
Abstract: 
This guidance document is for occupational health nurses (OHN) to assist them to use their skills and knowledge to work within a continuum of public health practice at three levels: through the workforce as a whole; through group work with employees and with individuals through individualised approaches of health prevention/promotion. The guide provides a framework for practice to support the OHN in their public health role and to ensure the workplace becomes a focus for improving public health. The guide outlines: - · The potential for the workplace as a setting for improving health · The policy that informs public health practice and case studies where innovative practice has been undertaken · A framework for practice at the three levels, workforce, group and individual level · Identifying health needs and planning work, to include workplace/workforce health needs assessment · Developing evidence-based practice · Changing practice-leading change and developing skills · Developing skills and knowledge – life long learning, continuing professional development and personal development plans · Competency framework – to help OHN’s audit their knowledge and skills and identify professional development needs · Useful resources, websites and organisations The guide aims to stimulate OHN’s to develop public health skills and knowledge and through action bring about improvements to the health of the working population.
Authors: 
DHRCN Society for Occupational health NursingAssociation of Occupational Health Nurse Practitioners (UK)
Category: 
Control
Management
Prevention

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Summary:
This guidance document is for occupational health nurses (OHN) to assist them to use their skills and knowledge to work within a continuum of public health practice at three levels: through the workforce as a whole; through group work with employees and with individuals through individualised approaches of health prevention/promotion.The guide provides a framework for practice to support the OHN in their public health role and to ensure the workplace becomes a focus for improving public health.The guide outlines: -· The potential for the workplace as a setting for improving health· The policy that informs public health practice and case studies where innovative practice has been undertaken· A framework for practice at the three levels, workforce, group and individual level· Identifying health needs and planning work, to include workplace/workforce health needs assessment· Developing evidence-based practice· Changing practice-leading change and developing skills· Developing skills and knowledge – life long learning, continuing professional development and personal development plans· Competency framework – to help OHN’s audit their knowledge and skills and identify professional development needs· Useful resources, websites and organisationsThe guide aims to stimulate OHN’s to develop public health skills and knowledge and through action bring about improvements to the health of the working population.
Questions Addressed:
The guide provides the information and tools to stimulate OHN’s to develop public health skills and knowledge and through action bring about improvements to the health of the working population.
Type of Study:
Review
Methods Valid:
Yes
Methods Valid Detail:

Reviews national public health policy which informs the guidance and gives examples of local case studies of innovative practice. It also demonstrates basic health needs assessment and provides a self audit tool for competencies and professional development.

Results Reliability:
Yes: Guidance written by a combined working group of experts in occupational health from the DH, RCN Society for Occupational Health Nursing and the Association of Occupational Health Nurse Practitioners
Problems or Biases:

The guidance outlines the basic skills and knowledge needed to develop the role of OHN’s to contribute to public health in the workplace setting but further reading would be necessary to gain a fuller understanding of the contribution they can make to the health and well being of the working population

Relevant Studies:

1. Getting Ahead of the Curve. The Government Strategy for Health Protection website http://www.dh.gov.uk/assetRoot/04/06/08/75/04060875.pdf 2. Delivering Choosing Health: making healthier choices easier. Department of Health http://www.dh.gov.uk/PublicationsAndStatistics/Publications/Publications... 3. Choosing a Better Diet: a food and health action plan. Department of Health http://www.dh.gov.uk/PublicationsAndStatistics/Publications/Publications... 4. Choosing Activity: a physical activity action plan. Department of Health http://www.dh.gov.uk/PublicationsAndStatistics/Publications/Publications... Public health in England. Department of Health http://www.dh.gov.uk/AboutUs/MinistersAndDepartmentLeaders/ChiefMedicalO...

Keywords:
public health health promotion/prevention workforce healthy workplace
Reviewer Name:
Sue Wiseman
Reviewer Post:
Nurse Consultant –Infection Control, DH
Reviewer Affiliations:
Member Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens Health Protection Adviser Royal College of Nursing P/T Member Infection Control Nurses Association