OBJECTIVES To identify the common core competencies required for occupational physicians in Europe.
METHOD A modified Delphi survey was conducted among members of the European Association of Schools of Occupational Medicine (EASOM), the Occupational Medicine Section of the Union of European Medical Specialities (UEMS), and of the European Network of Societies of Occupational Physicians (ENSOP). An initial questionnaire based on the training syllabus of the United Kingdom Faculty of Occupational Medicine was circulated and respondents were asked to rate the importance of each item. The results were discussed at a conference on the subject of competencies. A further questionnaire was developed and circulated which asked respondents to rank items within each section.
RESULTS There was a 74% response in the first round and an 80% response in the second. Respondents' ratings from most important to least important were; occupational hazards to health, research methods, health promotion, occupational health law and ethics, communications, assessment of disability, environmental medicine, and management. In the second round, among those topics ranked most highly were; hazards to health and the illnesses which they cause, control of risks, and diagnoses of work related ill health. Topics such as principles of occupational safety and selection of personal protection equipment were of least importance. Although the assessment of fitness was regarded as important, monitoring and advising on sickness absence were not highly rated. Management competency was regarded as of low importance.
CONCLUSION This survey identified that respondents had traditional disease focused views of the competencies required of occupational physicians and that competencies were lagging behind the evolving definition of occupational health.
- Delphi study
- occupational medicine training
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