Applying for a position in Occupational health with no experience

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    I have recently applied for a Occupational Health position at a local chemical plant. I have no experience in Occupational health. Only 1 year as a LPN in a nursing home and 2 years as a RN float nurse in the hospital setting, I believe my experience as a float nurse will be beneficial because I have acute care experience as well as managment and treatment experiance that Med Surg offers. I am currently in BSN school and will graduate in Decemeber with hopes of starting a masters program the following semester if accepted. I have a interview sceduled in 3 days and I am looking for suggestions of what to expect and how to increase my chances of getting the position with no experience in this field. I hope that my ambitions of returning to school will be a plus. I have researched a little about OHN and have concluded that one of the most important qualities is working independently. Any suggestions of what to expect and what I should know about OHN for the interview? Thanks!
  2. 10 Comments so far...

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    How did your interview go?

    I have been watching this thread because I am in the same position. I am surprised no one helped you out; small area of nursing I guess.

    What questions did they ask?
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    It went absolutely horrible, barely shy of completely ruining my professional integrity. It was actually one of the most embarrassing moments of my life I do believe!

    They asked me what I knew about the company. They asked me general questions regarding work experience. Because I am a float nurse they really focused on how much time I spent in the ER and what I did on a average day. What my duties in other parts of the hospital were. They asked about my experience with OSHA and Workman's comp. The 2 biggest questions that totally threw me off and got me all crazy headed and made me have a mini anxiety attack were: Describe a conflict in the workplace that you have experienced, what was your role, how did you deal with it, how was it resolved? and Tell me about a process within your current workplace that you have helped improve, how you were involved, describe your plan, the issue and resolution.

    They also asked what made me feel as if I was most qualified for the job. What my goals were.

    I think the reason I did so bad is that it was a phone interview. This company has a contract HR team that conducts a phone interview with each applicant and types it out word for word. They then choose the best interviews and send them to the company, at that point the company makes the decision of who to call for a face to face interview. I hoped that I could be of some assistance for you! Most of all I hope you do better than I did! )
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    Quote from telly32487
    It went absolutely horrible, barely shy of completely ruining my professional integrity. It was actually one of the most embarrassing moments of my life I do believe!

    They asked me what I knew about the company. They asked me general questions regarding work experience. Because I am a float nurse they really focused on how much time I spent in the ER and what I did on a average day. What my duties in other parts of the hospital were. They asked about my experience with OSHA and Workman's comp. The 2 biggest questions that totally threw me off and got me all crazy headed and made me have a mini anxiety attack were: Describe a conflict in the workplace that you have experienced, what was your role, how did you deal with it, how was it resolved? and Tell me about a process within your current workplace that you have helped improve, how you were involved, describe your plan, the issue and resolution.

    They also asked what made me feel as if I was most qualified for the job. What my goals were.

    I think the reason I did so bad is that it was a phone interview. This company has a contract HR team that conducts a phone interview with each applicant and types it out word for word. They then choose the best interviews and send them to the company, at that point the company makes the decision of who to call for a face to face interview. I hoped that I could be of some assistance for you! Most of all I hope you do better than I did! )

    Oh my...so sorry to hear that. I had a bad interview like that once too. After I left I was caught between crying and laughing at myself! Without any OHN experience it would be very hard to prepare for the OSHA and workers comp questions. I dont know much about that stuff either. My interview is tomorrow. I will keep you posted! Thanks for your help!
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    Quote from ilovenursing2009
    Oh my...so sorry to hear that. I had a bad interview like that once too. After I left I was caught between crying and laughing at myself! Without any OHN experience it would be very hard to prepare for the OSHA and workers comp questions. I dont know much about that stuff either. My interview is tomorrow. I will keep you posted! Thanks for your help!
    Good luck on your interview! To help you get an idea of workers comp and OSHA issues, I would check out your states workers comp rules. Every state is different. They should be on your state's Department of Labor website. Also, go on OSHA's website to check out how to record on the OSHA logs. You would need to know what is recordable and what is not. Anything beyond first aide is usually recordable. Your interviewer will want to know what your knowledge base is regarding mandatory reporting. Also, check out job descriptions for Occupational Health Nurses on Indeed.com from across the nation to see what types of duties OHN's perform whether in a manufacturing or corporate or hospital venue. Hope this helps! Good luck!
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    Quote from ilovenursing2009
    Oh my...so sorry to hear that. I had a bad interview like that once too. After I left I was caught between crying and laughing at myself! Without any OHN experience it would be very hard to prepare for the OSHA and workers comp questions. I dont know much about that stuff either. My interview is tomorrow. I will keep you posted! Thanks for your help!
    Your welcome!! I hope you nail it! I don't know what happened to me, I totally freaked out! I wanted to tell them at the end, "please spare my reputation and do not even send this to the company by ANY means pretend as if it never occurred"

    For the OSHA and workers comp questions I had a well prepared answer along the lines of " I am not as experienced in workers comp and OSHA regulations, however, I hope that during my orientation I will become familiar with your policy and procedures regarding theses areas. Upon reviewing regulations of workers comp I have gathered the impression that communication is key and even more important is prevention of claims, I am comfortable in knowing that your corporation prizes itself on safety, so I feel as if I will have no trouble quickly catching on" instead .... I believed I replied very bluntly "I don't have any but i hope i can refer to the policies and procedures" which made no sense. I just wish I could go back and do it allllll over again! Let me know how you do!
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    It's 99% administration in OHN!! Policy, procedure, documentation, my wife's nurse friends like to joke "How many bandaids did you put on today!!"

    OSHA, Case management, disability, workmens comp, and depending on the site safety system implementation.

    It's 100% a totally different world than a hospital!!
  9. 0
    I'm not a nurse, but I thought I'd throw in this anecdote. We've got quite a few chemical plants around here, and they keep all keep some RNs on staff.

    Back when I was actively working as a paramedic we had a "deal" with a few of the companies to provide occupational health coverage whenever all the nurses were off, short staffed, sick, etc. That happened more than I'd thought it would, and I worked at one a couple of times. (EMS was my part-time job so I didn't want a second PT job!) Actually, as I think back, I ended up working at a poultry processor, lol. People were tracking bloody feathers in all night with their rubber boots coming up with complaints to try and get sent home. The nurses and personnel warned us about that. It was fairly slow, and I found that in the scope of those nights I did everything the nurses typically did during their shifts.

    It seemed like an easy job, although I use that term loosely, as long as you were prepared for emergency response and hazmat which we were. Those kind of industries have their own safety teams so they did no OSHA or safety work at all. I just stumbled onto this sub-forum, and I'd recommend the work environment for those wanting to be free from patient interactions. It seems like at one of the plants a nurse quit her department and got promoted into HR to deal with personnel matters.
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    If you have no experience in Occ Health, I suggest that you seek part time work (and if you like it--it'll grow to full time) with an Occ-Health Agency, they'll start you out easily (hopefully).

    Nurse for a chemical factory is no easy task. Being a nurse for a toy company may be much easier, lots of splinters and a few chopped off fingers. Every place is different and every place has a skill set that is needed. It's very important to start at a level that requires a low skill set.

    My past: Job #1: Ball Bearing factory (small) part time, and toy factory, part time, and welding company part time. Skill set, be there, remove splinters and counsel very surprised mother to be, along with giving flu shots and patching boo boos.

    Job #2: High Tech, same as above, no OSHA log needed. Extensive knowledge of allergic contact and allergic dermatitis though--but I learned. Lot's of ergo consults--what fun. I read a book or three... "let's move this monitor so your neck will be in a neutral position." (It worked!)

    Job #3: Paper mill: 6 people overcome with toxic gas on my first day; OSHA knowledge imperative, advanced accident investigation skills, crushed forearm, severed finger, tons of strains/sprains and fakers. Great job but advanced skill set needed. I learned a lot there before it went bankrupt.

    Current job: Ginormous warehouse facility at a major corporation. No Osha log management, but intense OSHA knowledge required for recordable override cases. Some ergo, lots of paperwork, occasional chest pain cases.... off you go to 911. A great deal of Workers' Comp management which I found rather rewarding and a great deal of writing for OSHA recordable override cases for those whose stories did not stand up to scrutiny (as when four other employees signed statements totally contradictory to what the employee said happened).

    So the range can be from babysitter and boo boo patcher, to know OSHA better than OSHA inspectors or no OSHA requirements, to best be trained beforehand as an EMT for trauma cases. Occ-Med is all over the place. Start small and work up---I love it.

    Try to find a start job where you are 2nd in command, then you have a mentor/teacher (and omg what do I do now....). If hearing tests are required ask to be sent to COHC classes. If fit testing is required ask to be trained in fit testing and spirometry. Become Red Cross First Aid and AED instructor as well as Blood Born Pathogens instructor--the latter you can even "test out" for if you learn the subject.

    If you can do hearing tests, fit tests, drug testing, post-hire physicals, teach BBP, teach AED/First Aid...then you start to "save" them money--reasons to hire and keep you.

    Occ Health is not easy though... nor really easy to get into, but persevere and good luck.
    3rdcareerRN likes this.
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    Gosh, you get involved with first-aiding? I've been doing Occy Health for 14 years and never got involved with accidents or such - well, only the really serious ones that required triaging and resus. The rest was always dealt with by the first aiders who are pretty hot stuff. Mind you, I am talking about firms that only have the nurses working 1-3 days a week and the factory runs 24/7 so it makes no sense to have a different protocol for just a couple of days each week.

    Most of what I do is annual health checks for people in hazardous areas; noise, fumes, chemicals and so on, plus fork lift and HGV drivers. These medicals usually comprise BP, weight, eye test, spirometry and audiometry. We do pre-employment and termination medicals and give the occasional drop in advice which generally should really go to their GP. We also counsel for stress when required and offer help with health care issues like checking breasts and testicles, smoking or alcohol problems.
    On occasions we might need to administer vaccines like Hep B or flu but that's about it.

    One needs to have a pretty comprehensive knowledge of hazardous substances and environments and company protocols and laws relating to them, (here called the EU six pack!) also sickness absences.

    Well, that's how it works in the UK, anyway.


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