Occupational Health Nurse

Occupational health nurses (OHNs) specialize in workplace health and safety. They're responsible for examining worksites to locate and remove potential hazards.

OHNs collaborate with employers to design business-friendly safety programs designed specifically for each company's labor force and business environment, utilizing various approaches. They also advocate for the right of employees to work in safe and healthy environments.

OHNs fill many positions relating to workplace health and safety. They can be employed as consultants, corporate directors, case managers, teachers, and clinicians. The following are typical specialties of OHNs:

  • Illness management
  • Environmental health
  • Emergency and disaster preparedness
  • Medical care for on the job injuries
  • Healthcare services management
  • Injury rehabilitation

OHNs also counsel employees about injury prevention, worksite safety concerns, and emotional and relationship problems. When necessary, they refer employees to community and private assistance resources and follow-up with them.

Additionally, they establish health education and illness management programs, which include exercise plans, nutrition education, and smoking cessation programs.

Occupational health nurses conduct research to locate worksite hazards, determine how exposure to certain chemicals affects workers, and to assess worker health in certain industries.

Many organizations employ OHNs to cut costs by decreasing disability claims, enhance worker productivity, reduce work related injuries, and improving worksite safety and health.

Working Conditions

Work settings for occupational health nurses depend on job title and specialty. Some work in boardrooms and factory floors, while others spend their days in classrooms. Most occupational health nurses work 40 hour weeks during normal office hours. These specialists typically earn annual salaries exceeding $60,000 a year.

Career Training and Education

Before being admitted into an OHN degree program, you must hold a bachelor's degree in nursing. Students have the option of earning a master's degree or PhD.

Following graduation, you'll quality to take the certification exam that must be passed to become licensed as an OHN.

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