There is a wide range of daily duties of occupational health nurses.
They educate patients; deal with medical records, and direct patient care.
In their work, they face a specific set of requirements.
The first challenge they may encounter is the emotional toll.
Occupational health nurses may see patients who are critically injured on the job.
The severity of the injury may determine the worker’s future.
For example, one of their coworkers may sustain a needlestick injury and get infected with the blood-borne pathogen.
Some of the patients they can face are dealing with construction workers who have severe back injuries which will render him unable to work permanently.
The situations can be very stressful, and emotionally draining.
Therefore occupational health nurses need to have a healthy stress outlet that will help them to cope with challenges.
Reconciling efficiency and patient care can also be one of the challenges.
In many aspects, health care is business, and organizations are coming with solutions to reduce costs.
When the worker’s claims get denied, the worker doesn’t always know what the next steps are.
Nurses are on the front line and in direct contact with patients, so they need to explain the situation to the worker.
Having tough discussions with patients is also part of the work.
For example, when a patient gets tested positive on a drug and alcohol test, a nurse is responsible for informing the worker and employer about results.
Also, if a worker exaggerates the injuries and symptoms, and clinical diagnosis is different, a nurse must talk with the patients.
Hard discussions with patients can be very challenging, especially when patients refuse to take responsibility for the actions.
Despite all challenges, a job of occupational health nurse is rewarding in so many ways.
Nurses educate staff on on-site safety and help them to ensure a safe work environment and fewer on-site injuries.