What Is an Occupational Health Nurse?

Occupational health nurses are employed by businesses and organizations to provide health services and programs to workers. Their focus is on preventing work-related injury or illness and promoting healthy conditions in the workplace. Read this article to learn more about occupational health nurses. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Duties and Responsibilities

According to the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses, Inc. (www.aaohn.org), businesses recognize the value of healthy employees. They may depend on occupational health nurses (OHNs) to reduce costs related to workplace injury and absenteeism. OHNs treat employees within their organization for work-related injuries or health issues. In addition, they work to promote safe, healthy working environments for the employees. Duties might include:

  • Counseling employees
  • Detecting workplace hazards and working to reduce risk
  • Administering health promotional programs

Important Facts about this Occupation

Median Pay$66,924
Job Outlook19% growth in employment for RNs (faster than average)
Key SkillsCritical thinking, interpersonal skills, organizational skills, attention to detail, knowledge and understanding of federal workplace regulations
Similar OccupationsLegal Nurse Consultants, Occupational Therapists, Dental Hygienists, EMTs and Paramedics, Physician Assistants

Sources: PayScale.com, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Work Environment

Occupational health nurses work in a number of settings, including manufacturing and construction companies. They deal directly with workers as clinicians, health educators, case managers, counselors, and crisis managers. Some OHNs have less direct worker contact. Their role might be to ensure compliance with laws and regulations or detect potentially hazardous situations.

Education, Licensing, and Certification

Occupational health nurses must be licensed registered nurses (RNs). RNs must complete an approved two-year or four-year nursing program and pass a national licensing exam administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. (www.ncsbn.org). OHNs may also pursue certification in their specialty. The American Board for Occupational Health Nurses, Inc. (www.abohn.org) offers specialized certification to individuals with work experience in occupational health or who have completed a certificate program in occupational health nursing.

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