Occupational Health Nursing

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If you are thinking about a change in your current nursing career, become an occupational health nurse. This is a profitable and rewarding specialty in the U.S. As an occupational health nursing professional, you are responsible for the ongoing safety and health of workers within an industrial or corporate workplace setting.

Education Requirements for Occupational Health Nursing

Educational requirements for an occupational health and safety nurse depend to a great extent on the job opportunities available in the occupational field. Some work in an entry level position and have only the basic level of nursing education required to be licensed as a registered nurse (RN) – the Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN). Others hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Also, many others are certified nurse practitioners who hold a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree.

Occupational health nursing programs are offered at several colleges and universities in America. Occupational safety and health nurses must possess a current nursing license in the state where they reside. This is obtained after the nurse takes and passes the NCLEX-RN test.

Occupational Health Nurse Certification

Regardless of an occupational health nurse’s level of education or training, an occupational nursing professional must become certified by the American Board of Occupational Health Nurses (ABOHA). Certification requirements include getting a passing grade on a multiple choice question test that lasts over an hour. Mandatory occupational health nursing practical experience is also expected for certification.

Occupational Health Nursing Career Opportunities and Salaries

Possible job opportunities for occupational health nurses include several professional positions, such as clinical nurses, or nurse managers, corporate nurses, and nursing educators. Most occupational health nursing specialists prefer to work for factories and organizations. These employers offer good benefits, excellent hours, and weekends off. Many of these occupational worksites allow for the nurse to have holidays off with pay.

According to most web sources, the annual salary of occupational health nurse is anywhere from $45,800 to $79,300 per year. This range is due to the nurse’s education level, the years of nursing experience, and the location of the employer. As you can see, occupational health nursing can be a profitable career choice.

Job Duties of the Occupational Health Nurse

Normally, an occupational health nurse is a licensed registered nurse or a nurse practitioner (NP) with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree or equivalent. The role of this professional is to minimize risks of injury, identify health issues, and assist coworkers in their place of employment. Employment sites for occupational health nursing professionals include factories, organizations, or an office environment. A certified occupational health nurse will need additional nursing education and training to prevent hazardous work environments from affecting the health of the workers

In order to accomplish this role, it is essential that an occupational health nurse understand adverse health effects, as well as specific types of treatments and preventions necessary for many different occupations. Critical aspects of this job include carefully watching workers, as well as the work environment. This type of nurse must have a high level of understanding of protective equipment, engineering controls, and industrial hygiene required in the place of employment.

Other duties of an occupational health nurse entail monitoring a worker’s medical history, performing physical examinations, and administering diagnostic tests. Using all these factors, this specialized nursing professional can identify abnormalities and ascertain adverse working conditions. These nursing professionals are an important member of the employment team.

Resources

ABOHA: http://www.abohn.org/

ANA: http://www.nursingworld.org/

Nurse.Org (2013): http://www.nurse.org/orgs.shtml

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