Occupational Health Nurses (OHNs) are registered nurses (RNs) who practice in the workplace of a company or organization outside of healthcare institutions. They treat employees, inspect the work area for health hazards, and observe working conditions. Occupational health nurses can work in various industries, such as construction, manufacturing, commercial, and government institutions. Some occupational health nurses work as independent consultants and provide services to different clients.
An occupational health nurse is responsible for providing basic first aid, evaluating an employee’s health and providing initial diagnosis on medical conditions, maintaining employee health records, as well as appraising the safety and health hazards in the work environment. He or she may conduct thorough physical examinations on an employee in order to establish preexisting medical conditions or determine physical ailments acquired in the workplace. The occupational health nurse inspects the work area and equipment used by personnel for safety compliance, generates detailed reports on safety conditions, educates employees on preventative measures against occupational hazards, promotes healthy living and working conditions, provides counseling and support, develops health and safety policies, and ensures that the company is up to date with public health and employment safety legislations.
Education and Training Requirements:
To become an occupational health nurse, it is necessary to be a registered nurse with at least two years of practice, to have training in occupational health nursing and receive certification by the passing state licensing examination. Employers may require other training and experience level, depending on their industry, size, as well as location.
Knowledge and Skills Requirements:
To become a successful occupational health nurse, it is important to possess good interpersonal and communication skills, excellent observational skills, and advanced knowledge in public safety and industrial health standards. An occupational health nurse must be patient, supportive, compassionate and be able to maintain composure and work effectively within groups.
The working condition and environment of an occupational health nurse may vary according to the employer’s type of industry and location. Occupational health nurses can work in educational institutions, factories, construction sites, industrial plants, offices, government establishments, or practice independently as consultants. They typically work 40 hours a week and enjoy company benefits.
The salary of an occupational health nurse may range from $52,000 to $75,000 per year and vary due to the company and its size, type of industry, location, and the benefits they offer. The median annual salary of an occupational health nurse is $68,000.