Occupational health nursing is a branch of nursing that focuses on the prevention and treatment of work-related injuries. Occupational health nurses work for businesses that want to provide nursing services to their employees, as well as government agencies that deal with occupational and public health issues. Many are registered nurses, and some have master’s degrees in public health or other related fields.
Occupational health nursing is a diverse field, with nurses approaching occupational health from a variety of angles. Many people are concerned about identifying workplace hazards and ensuring that businesses are following occupational health and safety regulations. They collaborate with supervisors and employees to improve compliance rates and encourage employees to report unsafe or suspicious working conditions. It is necessary to receive industry-specific training about potential hazards, government safety mandates, and topics that may be relevant to nursing practice in order to perform this work.
Prevention and education are also important aspects of occupational health nursing. Employees may receive orientations from a nurse to learn how to work safely and effectively, as well as regular education classes that promote employee health. Specific workplace topics, as well as more general health topics like nutrition and exercise, may be covered in these classes. Employees who need help with health issues that could affect their performance at work, such as addiction or depression, can seek counseling from occupational health nurses.
When workplace injuries occur, members of the occupational health nursing profession deal with them as well. From the time an injury is reported until it is followed up on, they manage individual patient cases, and they use each injury as an opportunity to reevaluate the workplace and determine if additional safety programs are required. Of course, the ideal goal of occupational nursing is to prevent workplace injuries eliminating them, but nurses must still be prepared to deal with them if they occur.
Employers can lose a lot of money due to work-related injuries. While hiring an occupational health specialist will cost money up front, it will save money in the long run reducing injuries and keeping the workplace as a whole healthier. Occupational health nursing professionals can work in settings such as clinics that specialize in the treatment of such injuries, providing individualized care to people who have been injured at work, as well as for government agencies and insurance companies, researching workplace injuries, determining their cause, and determining who or what is to blame.