What is the Job of an Occupational Health Nurse Practitioner Like?

Nurse Practitioner who specializes in health and safety in a variety of work settings such as corporate, industrial, governmental, and academic setting is an Occupational Health Nurse Practitioner, or OHNP.

The first occupational nurses were employed over a century ago, according to the details form the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN).

The first nurse who got the role of the occupational health nurse was Betty Molder.

She was a nurse who took care of sick or injured miners and their families.

There are several requirements you need to fulfill to become an Occupational Health Nurse Practitioner.

First of all, a Master’s degree in nursing (MSN) is required and there are several specializations allowed.

Those are:

  • MSN in community health nursing
  • MSN in occupational health nursing, family nurse practitioner
  • Master’s of public health, occupational health nurse
  • MSN in primary health, occupational health nurse practitioner
  • MSN in environmental health, occupational health nurse

There are also licensure requirements, but those are the same as for any other nurse practitioner role.

You will have to hold a registered nurse license and advanced practice registered nurse.

Certification isn’t required, but if you have got a certificate, it can improve your chances for the job and salary

After you complete a master’s degree in nursing, you can take the national certification exam administered by the American Board of Occupational Health Nurses (ABOHN).

The certificate is useful for those who want to pursue a career in occupational health.

There are two national certifications – Certified Occupational Health Nurse (COHN) or a Certified Occupational Health Nurse-Specialist (COHN-S).

These certificates will ensure that you have higher chances for a job and that you understand specific regulatory agency protocols such as  OSHA, FMLA, ADA, DOT, HIPAA, etc.

Only nurses who have an associate degree or higher and an active RN license are eligible to get the COHN certificate.

Candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree and active RN license are eligible to get the COHN-S status.

Occupational nursing is about taking care of work-related injuries, stress, and illness.

Also, an integral part of the occupational nurse job is going to education and training seminars, employee health fairs, etc.

What Occupational Health Nurses Deal With Daily?

Work-related injuries include treating illnesses from hazardous materials and heavy machinery that can cause disease in the work setting.

Occupational health nurses also treat burns, abrasions, sprains, strains, fractures, and a variety of other injuries common on the worksite.

Occupational Health Nurses Educative Activities

The nurses specialized in occupational health can work in wellness programs for weight loss, help with tobacco cessation, and educate on nutrition and physical activity.

They organize safety education and teach workers how to work risk-free with hazardous materials, waste, and how to properly operate heavy machinery.

An important part of occupational health nurses as educators is training workers on how to use health equipment such as eyewash stations.

Occupational health nurses go to health fairs and advocate for vaccination and pre-screening tools, such as cholesterol and blood pressure glucose levels.

The job of occupational health nurse practitioners is highly important because, by making the work site safer, they can increase employee retention.

Also, a safer and satisfactory work environment will reduce workers’ compensation claims, and make sure that everything is abiding by OSHA, FMLA, and HIPAA regulations.

Occupational Health NPs can investigate issues in current practices, come up with improvement solutions, and guide the organization toward a safe and efficient environment for everybody, workers, and upper management.

Following the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) can be challenging, and that is why many companies hire occupational health professionals.

There are so many work settings in which you can find occupational health nurse practitioners.

Those are Urgent Care Clinics, schools and universities, hospitals, counseling centers, factories, warehouses, industrial plants, government offices, and all other medical facilities.

Occupational Health Nurse Practitioners are essential when it comes to creating a beneficial and safe workplace for workers and upper management.

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