Occupational Health Nurses


Exploring this Job

Volunteer at a local hospital to see what a nurse's day is like. While there, talk to as many medical professionals as possible in different fields to gauge your interest in all areas of the profession, including occupational health. Ask nurses what schools they attended and how hard the training was to complete. This should help you get an inside scoop on nursing programs.

Another good way to explore nursing is to visit hospitals that are sites for a nursing program's clinical rotations. You may even be able to attend an orientation for potential students.

The Job

Occupational health nurses are responsible for providing health care services to the working population. These services may include emergency care in the case of an accident or critical illness, caring for ongoing work-related injuries such as back strain, or monitoring a worker's persistent high blood pressure or diabetes. Occupational health nurses are also responsible for assessing safety aspects of the workplace. Treating injuries includes analyzing how and why the injury occurred as well as initiating preventive measures in the plant or workplace.

Along with all the assessments and intervention, occupational health nurses are often responsible for making sure their company is following and documenting government-required workplace and health regulations. They may also be involved with company-sponsored health and safety workshops and may administer flu shots, be responsible for drug testing, and arrange for in-house mammograms and other wellness programs.

Like every nursing job, documentation and administration are important aspects of the duties. Occupational health nurses are usually responsible for reporting and documenting worker's compensation claims and for making sure the company meets Occupational Safety and Health Act requirements or other government workplace regulations.

Occupational health nurses ensure that workers who have special needs have safe, accommodating work stations. Teaching and demonstrating are also a big part of their responsibilities. Occupational health nurses may teach the proper way to lift heavy equipment to prevent back injury or train workers in cardiopulmonary resuscitation or emergency procedures.