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What's the Job Description of an Occupational Nurse?

Occupational nurses are often employed by non-medical companies to provide healthcare to their employees. Read on to learn about the specific duties and responsibilities, education requirements, licensing options, and salary statistics for occupational nurses.

Occupational Nurse Duties and Responsibilities

As an occupational nurse, also referred to as an occupational health nurse, your main responsibilities involve monitoring the health, well-being, and safety of the employees of your employer. This may include performing periodic physicals to determine the overall health and physical ability of workers, providing emergency first aid to workers who are injured on the job, or administering drug screening tests to new employees. You may also establish safety and health standards that conform with the regulations set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Some employers may also expect you to be a health coach and design health promotion programs to encourage employees to live healthier lives. You may also monitor employee sick leave and periodically check-up on ill or injured employees to determine their condition and estimate when they can return to work. Additionally, you could act as a liaison between your company's employees and their doctors and hospitals, if necessary.

Important Facts About Occupational Nurses

On-the-Job Training Not provided
Key Skills Clear communication, organization, problem solving, critical thinking, situational awareness, reading comprehension
Work Environment Hospitals, nursing and residential care facilities, physicians offices
Similar Occupations Family nurse practitioners, licensed practical nurses, medical assistants, nurse case managers, physicians assistants

Education and Licensing Options

To become an occupational nurse, you must be a registered nurse. Diploma, associate's, and bachelor's degree nursing programs are available. Once you have completed a nursing program, you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, offered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, before seeking employment.

The specialization of occupational nurse is usually attained after spending some time nursing as a general, registered nurse. When looking for an occupational nurse position, some employers may prefer that you have additional certifications. Examples of available certifications include the Certified Occupational Health Nurse credential offered by the American Board for Occupational Health Nurses and the Certified Health Coach designation offered by the National Society of Health Coaches.

Salary Statistics and Job Outlook

PayScale.com reported that, as of June 2019, occupational nurses earned a median annual salary of $65,018. This is similar to registered nurses in general, who earned average annual salaries of $71,730 in May 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). Per the BLS, the employment of registered nurses in general is expected to grow by 15% between 2016 and 2026.