Occupational Health Nursing

Occupational health nurses encourage well-being and promote healthfulness in employees. An occupational health nurse may provide pre-employment medicals, assess and treat employees who get sick or are injured at work, and provide counseling and support. They also carry out risk assessment; identify health and safety problems within the work environment and advise managers on how to deal with them; train and supervise staff in first aid response; keep up employee health records; and develop and manage emergency procedures.

Occupational health nurses may work for airlines, retail chains, or financial institutions, either alone or as part of a larger team of health and safety experts. Occupational health nurses may work in many organizations, including office complexes, universities and colleges, factories, department stores, or hospitals. They can be employed either for a private consultant or organization, or they may be self-employed as an occupational health consultant. Occupational health nursing may lead to managing the occupational health staff or running an occupational health center, as well as moving into nurse training or health service management.

Those thinking of going into occupational health nursing should be good with communicating, especially with people of different backgrounds, because you have to teach people how to follow safety procedures and plans for healthy lifestyles. These nurses must be able to make sure instructions on safety and health issues are taken care of, in additional to continually observing and dealing with health and safety risks. An occupational health nurse must be mature, responsible, tactful, patient, calm in an emergency, and able to work with a team or take initiative if working alone.

Most occupational health nurses work as a registered nurse for at least two years before applying for a specialist occupational health course. Training is for one year full-time or two years part-time and involves the principles of occupational health, prevention of ill health, health surveillance, health and safety legislation, health promotion, ergonomics, and toxicology.

If you want to start a career in occupational health nursing, you need a nursing degree. Consider an online LPN to BSN degree or an online RN to BSN degree if you’re already a nurse. Otherwise, compare these programs from the University of Phoenix:
» Online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
» Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

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