Heroes at work

Susanna Bonivart

“Thanks to being close to several First Aid stations, the employee was able to receive treatment rapidly and the injuries could be limited. “

The company nurse – where your health and occupational health and safety come first.

Suddenly the alarm went off. An employee was being sprayed with boiling steam. Thanks to being close to several First Aid stations, the employee was able to receive treatment rapidly and the injuries could be limited. Meet company nurse Susanna Bonivart.

With over 20 years’ experience in emergency healthcare and 15 years as a company nurse at different companies, Bonivart has seen most things. Everything from lifesaving interventions to patching up patients, rehabilitation and training. As a company nurse, occupational health and safety is a specialist area and a big part of the job involves preventing accidents and ill-health in the workplace.

“Preventative work is the A to Z. The first thing I do when I enter a new workplace is to check that there are First Aid stations in place and procedures to ensure they are properly maintained,” says Bonivart.

The importance of having First Aid close at hand, was demonstrated when Bonivart worked at Swedish steel makers SSAB. An employee was crossing a metal walkway when boiling steam erupted underneath him.

“When the accident happened, they had to use all the burn injury dressings in the nearby First Aid stations. The individual suffered severe burns, but thanks to rapid treatment while waiting for an ambulance, they managed to limit the extent of the injury.

Bonivart’s wide-ranging experience of emergency healthcare and as a company nurse has not gone unnoticed and she is a member of the board of the Swedish National Association of Company Nurses. This year, Bonivart was also elected vice chair of FOHNEU, the Federation of Occupational Health Nurses within the European Union.

“Being in contact with company nurses in other countries is incredibly interesting and rewarding. We can learn a great deal from each other and share experiences and discuss best practices. One thing we all share is the importance of First Aid. Having ready access to a First Aid Station is something that can literally be the difference between life and death,” Bonivart adds.

About company nurses

To become a company nurse, you must be a certified nurse. Further training in company healthcare is also generally required. To be accepted, you need a minimum of two years professional experience as a certified nurse.

Three quick questions…

 

What workplaces have their own company nurse?

Today, only larger enterprises within manufacturing industry, municipalities, the regions and armed forces in particular, have company healthcare inhouse and accordingly their own company nurse. It has become increasingly common to outsource this.

What should you think about when it comes to preventing accidents?

It is important to pursue systematic occupational health and safety work with a view to continuous improvements in health and safety. Regular training in First Aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and ready access to a First Aid Station and defibrillator.

Which First Aid product do you feel is the most important?

I actually think all First Aid products are equally important, but if I had to choose one, it would be a large tourniquet as this has so many different application areas.

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