Occupational health nursing is a field within the nursing discipline that involves developing business health and safety programs or observing workers who have been injured on-the-job. If you are interested in starting a career in nursing, it is important to be aware of all of the various types of opportunities that exist. You can work in healthcare as a nursing professional without working in a clinical setting at a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital. Read on and learn more about this interdisciplinary field of health care so that you know whether or not this is the right occupation for you.
What Do Occupational Health Nurses Do?
Occupational health nurses (OHNs) are specialists who practice in industrial and community settings to help improve the health and safety of workers and other community groups. The role of an OHN can be extremely diverse and specific responsibilities will depend upon where an OHN is employed. Some of the most common roles and responsibilities of OHNs include:
- Observation of workers doing their job tasks to assess health statuses
- Development of innovative health and safety programs
- Management of work-related diseases
- Disaster and emergency planning
- Environmental health planning
- Assistance with rehabilitation
- Coordination of employee treatments and referrals
- Emergency care to injured employees who are on-the-clock
- Counseling employees and families when injured
- Conducting research and working with community organizations and health educators
- Working with executives to lower costs of disability claims or other related costs
What Settings Will OHNs Be Found in?
You can work in a broad array of settings when you are a professional occupational health nurse. You may work in a classroom as an educator or researcher, or in a boardroom as a corporate director. It is also common to find OHN professionals in clinic settings as a case manager, nurse practitioner, or clinician. Some OHN’s are self-employed and work in business settings as consultants who manage several clients at once.
How Do You Become an Occupational Health Nurse?
Before you can become an OHN, you need to complete a nursing program or earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing. After you possess your BSN degree, you can then take the National Council Licensure Exam to get licensed in your state. Once you are an licensed Registered Nurse, you must complete an Occupational Health Nursing program so that you can sit for the certification exam through the American Board for Occupational Health Nurses. In order to earn the mark of prestige that is a certification, you will need to complete a certificate program and then complete 3000 hours in the field.
The demand for highly trained and experienced Occupational Health Nurses is on the rise as employers search for ways to cut costs and to keep up with employment laws. If you would like to work in a specialty area that is flourishing, you should consider the advantages of becoming a Certified Occupational Health Nurse. Be sure to find out what types of training programs you can complete to earn your certificate. Once you find Occupational Health Nursing programs, you can map out the path that you will take to gain experience and get certified.