So You Want To Be An Occupational Health Nurse? Here’s What You Need To Know

According to Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workplace, more than one in three employees (35 percent) have changed jobs within the last three years. That same study found that more than half of employees (51 percent) say they are actively looking for a new job or watching for openings.

The reasons for job searching can vary: money, problems with management, the need for a change, etc.

One other reason for switching job is unsafe working conditions. Construction is a notoriously dangerous occupation with the “Fatal Four” constituting 63.7 percent of worker deaths in 2016. The construction industry’s “Fatal Four” are:

  • Falls
  • Struck by Object
  • Electrocutions
  • Caught in/between

When it comes to workplace safety, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for the workplace safety and health of approximately 130 million workers in the United States. Workplace conditions have improved over the years, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. Worker illness and injury is down per 100 workers from 10.9 incidents in 1972 to 2.9 in 2016. In addition, safety standards have improved from 1970-2016 with 38 daily workplace fatalities in 1970 being reduced to 14 by 2016.

As the need to improve workplace safety increases, so too will the importance of safety specialists, risk control jobs and safety specialist jobs. Occupational health nurse jobs will be of great importance too. The fact of the matter is there are hazards in all types of industries from manufacturing to retail to food service and occupational health nurse jobs will become paramount.

Occupational health involves identifying and controlling workplace hazards. Occupational health nurse jobs involve nurses caring for ill or injured employees and trying their best to prevent injuries and illnesses related to the workplace.

Hundreds of schools offering nurse programs and there are certain educational requirements that must be met. Occupational health nurse jobs require anyone interested in occupational health nursing careers to first become a registered nurse, which requires a bachelor’s degree. Those wanting to go into occupational health may also earn an MSN degree (two more years of schooling) and a PhD or DNP (2-4 more years of schooling). Nurses must also pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

So does an occupational nurse do?

Essentially those with occupational health nurse jobs access workplaces to identify possible hazards to try and keep employees as healthy and as safe as possible. Nurse educate employees and employers on how to keep their workplaces safe and suggest ways and procedures to make workplaces safer. Occupational heath nurses also make sure that workplaces are up to the standards set by OHSA.

If an employee gets sick at work or injured at work, an occupational health nurse will investigate what happened. Occupational health nurses may look at medical records to figure out whether a workplace hazard was the cause of an incident. A nurse may also perform drug tests and investigate accident causes as is necessary for insurance and workman’s compensation claims.

Those with occupational heath nurse jobs will also screen new employees to make sure they are capable of performing the tasks for which they are hired. That may include a drug screening, a vision test and a physical examination.

Occupational health nurses work in many places. They often find work in clinics and hospitals, but they work in many industries and many employers and companies will also hire their own nurses to their staffs.

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