Core competencies for UK Occupational Health Nurses: A Delphi study

Drushca Lalloo, E. Demou, S. Kiran, Mairi Gaffney, Marisa Stevenson, E.B. MacDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Background Occupational health nurses (OHNs) play a pivotal role in the delivery of occupational health (OH) services. Specific competency guidance has been developed in a number of countries, including the UK. While it is acknowledged that UK OHN practice has evolved in recent years, there has been no formal research to capture these developments to ensure that training and curricula remain up-to-date and reflect current practice.

Aims To identify current priorities among UK OHNs of the competencies required for OH practice.

Methods A modified Delphi study undertaken among representative OHN networks in the UK. This formed part of a larger study including UK and international occupational physicians. The study was conducted in two rounds using a questionnaire based on available guidance on training competencies for OH practice, the published literature, expert panel reviews and conference discussions.

Results Consensus among OHNs was high with 7 out of the 12 domains scoring 100% in rating. ‘Good clinical care’ was the principal domain ranked most important, followed by ‘general principles of assessment & management of occupational hazards to health’. ‘Research methods’ and ‘teaching & educational supervision’ were considered least important.

Conclusions This study has established UK OHNs’ current priorities on the competencies required for OH practice. The timing of this paper is opportune with the formal launch of the Faculty of Occupational Health Nursing planned in 2018 and should inform the development of competency requirements as part of the Faculty’s goals for standard setting in OHN education and training.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)649-655
Issue number8
Early online date4 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016


  • Competencies
  • Occupational Health Nurse training
  • Occupational Health Nursing
  • Delphi study


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