An occupational health nurse is a licensed medical professional who specializes in the treatment of work-related injuries and illnesses. He or she may provide health care to people in a variety of occupations, such as factory workers, miners, construction workers, and office workers. An occupational health nurse may also try to prevent future injuries and illnesses inspecting job sites, enforcing OSHA standards, and educating employees about risk management.
Occupational health nurses are specially trained to diagnose and treat common workplace injuries like strained backs, as well as develop long-term care plans. Workers may be advised to take time off to rest, wear protective equipment, or seek additional medical attention. Nurses on the job make sure that OSHA regulations are followed at all times, and if they aren’t, they advise companies on how to get in compliance. Occupational health nurses also frequently provide counseling and crisis intervention to people who are suffering from excessive stress, mental illness, or substance abuse problems.
Hospitals, public health clinics, outpatient care centers, and private practices employ the majority of occupational health nurses. Nurses working in doctors’ offices and outpatient centers usually work regular hours, but those working in hospitals and other facilities that are open 24 hours a day may be required to work nights, weekends, and holidays, as well as be on call in the event of an emergency. Occupational health nurses are occasionally hired large corporations or factories to work full- or part-time in their facilities, ensuring safe operations and providing immediate care when needed.
Occupational health nurses typically need a bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited college or university, though many employers prefer to hire nurses with master’s degrees. Before practicing occupational health nursing in the United States, an occupational health nurse must first obtain a license in his or her home state passing a licensing exam. Although certification is not required for occupational health nurses, many choose to enroll in the American Board for Occupational Health Nurses’ certificate program. Certified nurses are frequently rewarded with more job opportunities and opportunities for advancement in their careers. Nurse licensing and certification requirements are typically similar in other countries.
Continuing education courses allow occupational health nurses to receive the latest information on policies, techniques, and equipment. Ongoing education, experience, and perseverance often allow nurses to advance to supervisory or administrative positions. Occupational health physicians are some of the nurses who decide to pursue doctoral degrees.