Occupational Health Nurse Job Description
Occupational health nurses are medical professionals specialized in work-related medical conditions. This type of nursing career also requires the same formal nursing education and licensure as registered hospital nurses. However, this position requires certification provided by the American Board for Occupational Health Nurses, Inc. This type of nurse usually works for warehouses, factories, construction sites and other workplaces that require physical labor or handle hazardous materials. The occupational health nurse job description includes ensuring that a company’s employees are physically fit and that their working environment is safe.
The occupational health nurse ensures the safety of the company’s employee by identifying possible health hazards in the working environment and reporting unsafe procedures and equipment to the management. Screening health of employees through urine and stool testing, Mask Fit Testing, Breath Alcohol testing, audiometric testing, lung function testing, spirometry and medical examination before contract signing is a major part of the occupational health nurse job description. In most companies, these medical exams are taken annually to ensure all employees remain safe and healthy throughout their employment with the company.
Occupational health nurses provide preliminary immunization to employees and comply with the infection control and other policies provided by regulatory agencies. They also organize all aspects of health evaluation, from administering medications to handling paperwork, lab and physician confirmation, invoice processing and tests scheduling. Completing and maintaining patients’ records, filing reports and preventing risks of injuries and diseases by recommending safety precautions are other tasks under the occupational health nurse job description. They also perform drug test to ensure a drug-free working environment. Other duties include reviewing the health history people applying with the company and assign appropriate positions based on the physical demands of the job.
Training and Education Requirements
The first step in becoming an occupational health nurse is to become a Registered Nurse. One should complete a bachelor’s or an associate degree in nursing. After the two-year or four-year course, a candidate should take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurse. Once licensed to practice as a nurse, he/she can obtain specialization programs in occupational health. Most medical and nursing schools offer a Master of Science in Occupational Health Nursing, which takes 2-years.
The working environment of occupational health nurses mainly depends on the type of industry of their employer. These nurses may work in a variety of environments, ranging from a small office to a huge factory or warehouse. However, they often have an office of their own where they can consult with employees regarding their health issues. They also have an access to the company’s infirmary to provide checkups and treatments.
After taking and passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurse, candidates need to have certain certification to become an occupational health nurse. ABOHN provides the certification for a candidate to qualify for the position. However, a candidate should already have at least a year of experience as a Registered Nurse to qualify for the certification.
Salary and Wages
The average salary of an occupational health nurse largely varies on the type and size of their employer. However, the median salary of entry-level health nurse is about $40,000 per year, while nurses with experience can earn up to $80,000 annually.