Occupational Health Nurse (OHN) plays a key role in improving the health conditions of workers and working environment. Their main responsibilities include protecting workers’ health and improving the quality of working life in preventing occupational accidents, diseases and environment hazards. They also sort out the work-related social and emotional issues of the workers. More importantly, they play an advisory role in implementing healthcare and safety standards with their expertise and experiences.
Their focus areas are: disease management, emergency preparedness for work related accidents or natural disaster, rehabilitation of the victim workers, to educate the workers regarding various health hazards etc.
The practice of occupational health nursing certainly requires a great deal of knowledge in the occupational and environmental health sciences, principles of business and management and an understanding of the regulatory processes. These highly skilled health professionals not only help in maximizing the productivity of employees but also minimize the disability claims and numbers of absentee for job related diseases or injuries.
The occupational health nurses work as clinical nurses, clinical nurse managers, corporate nurses and nurse consultants in both private and public sectors.
In order to become an Occupational Health Nurse, students have to complete a Diploma, Associate, or Bachelor’s degree in nursing. The candidates may obtain a certificate program in occupational health nursing. Common courses of study include anatomy, physiology, nutrition, psychology and basic medical procedures.
Besides, the aspirants need to have some computer skills such as, database software, medical records software, office software etc.
The qualified nurses can obtain a license through the American Board for Occupational Health Nurses, as it is mandatory in many states of the USA. The board also offers two credentials for experienced and specialized candidates.
Salary and Job Outlook:
The job outlook for Occupational Health Nurse remains excellent across the USA. According to the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN), the average salary is $63,472 in 2012. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has recently confirmed that the profession of occupational health nurse will grow faster than the national average.