Future direction OH Nursing...? - page 2

by qatrat

8,156 Views | 14 Comments

I'm thinking about my future as an OHN - I like what I do but it's groundhog day... 10 years (onshore / offshore heavy industry, remote are support) and wondering what's next. I live / work in jurisdictions (Middle East /... Read More


  1. 0
    Well, I DID it!....I left the field of Occupational Health Nursing. I did not want to do it but I needed to live....I took an in-house position with an old employer in another specialty field.
    Hi JerseyLilly! What other specialty field are you in now? Do you miss Occ Health or are you enjoying your new job? Your posts have provided so much information to me while I try to transition to an OHN position. I'm still working in Work Comp case management for the time being but keep scouting the job ads for an OHN position near me, although there are very few positions advertised. I've interviewed for a few jobs but they've always chosen someone with Occ Health experience over me. It's become very frustrating...they say they want someone with more then just work comp experience yet no one will hire me so I can get the Occ Health clinical experience! I've gotten all the certifications they require; I just can't seem to find a job where I can use them!

    Keep us posted on how your new job is going! I'm wishing you the best! Who knows, maybe I'll go back to Public Health Nursing. The pay isn't great but I sure miss the benefits, hours, etc. As we get older, it's amazing how those things become so important!
  2. 3
    Great responses by all, thank you. I've been full-time Occ-Med for about 5 years, coming from Med-Surg and ICU. I'm contracted to a major corporation and love the job, the management and the Union (UAW) which seems to be contrary to what everyone else feels. Sadly, our plant closes in a few months and it's decision time. A local headhunter sends out a list of jobs periodically. Three years ago the average list was about ten Occ-Med RN's and maybe a part time LPN. These days, the list is usually 8 NP's, and one part-time LPN. Clearly becoming a NP is becoming more essential. Combo setups like COHN-S/SP or CMM helps. It's sad to hear the situation in foreign countries, for I had thought about that. As a lot we are becoming more and more pushed to extinction.

    Contract job seem the norm, and my contract company has reduced (through cuts in pay/insurance, etc.) my real income by about 8% each of the past three years. I no longer recommend OHN to students; sadly I actually no longer recommend nursing of any sort, even though a few years back I was a proselytizer. I'm trying to find a NP program, but being older, taking a loan is either very wise or very stupid (it's hard to collect from the aged infirm, or dead, but I online tests say I will live to be 90+, and there it is hard to consider paying $600/month for student loans. Still there will always be a need for those who hold experience and skills. COHC, being able to do fit-checking, spirometry, being an instructor (BBP; First Aid, CPR) helps. Even becoming a certified fitness instructor can help land a nice job if the corporation has a fitness center. I read that 20 years ago that the norm was one OHN for every ~150 employees, then it changed to every ~400, and in some places is as high as one per 700 ee's, due to reduction in manufacturing, and thus reduction in injuries in many areas. Lacerations, crushing injuries, strains have moved aside for office ergo issues and slips and falls on the way to the entrance.

    America's economic situation has brought hard times for all, exemplified by my being so happy about being terminated in a few months from the best job I have ever had (due to reductions making it no longer to live/work in MA). *pfft* I'm delaying paying my fee to AAOHN till August, and then will delay taking the COHN-S test till next year because I doubt I'll need it this fall/winter due to a paucity of jobs.
    Last edit by 42pines on Jun 19, '10 : Reason: to add paragraphs since line breaks don't work
  3. 0
    Odd, are you asking for yourself or for another?


    You say: "What would you recommend to a new grad planning an OH career? How do we claw back our professional credibility? Or do we bother?"

    In America for a new grad I'd recommend at least six months in Med/Surg, then transfer to ED or ICU (via a fast-track course of study) and spend a year there.

    Then I'd recommend, or while still working at the above if possible, accruing the 1000 hours of Occ-Med work necessary to sit for the COHN-S exam. Then I'd work for a year or two in an environment where you can get some quality exposure to Occ-Med stuff.

    Then, because let's face it RN's are NOT in shortage at all, and I think that will get worse since schools have doubled or quadrupled their RN output over the past 4 years, (My alma mater has) I suggest quitting and becoming an Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Occ-Med via a NIOSH Research college.

    Now you have the necessary background to make $70 to 90,000 US$/year. Four years ago I'd see a dozen ads for Occ-Med RN's, today I see a dozen ads for Advanced Nurse Practitioners and maybe one for a RN part-time.

    You of course have an MSN, but the ANP especially from an Occ-Med program is highly saleable. As for global, since you're from Oz, I certainly hope that Occ-Med improves. After all, though not in Oz, but in Asia, all the jobs that caused all the RSI's, Ergo, and toxic exposures have simply been shipped from the US (and maybe from Oz too) to China, Malaysia and so on.

    It saddens me to read that there seems to be little interest internationally because the price tag in 20 years will be monumental.
  4. 0
    I guess my perception of the future of OHN is different than most. What I foresee is the OHN becoming a huge asset to any company. As the companies look for ways to help reduce insurance costs, etc., the OHN will/can come into play by being an educator and wellness advocate.

    Many OHN's lack the ability or tools to show their worth/value. You have to be able to not only do a good job, but actually prove your worth. Why is the OHN a good choice over a less expensive MA or even an EMT? See where I'm going with this?

    OHN's need to band together and develop a strong voice. We have the power to affect legislation. We typically have backgrounds in multiple areas such as case management, business, leadership, safety, etc. We can serve a multipurpose role in any company!

    This is one of the times you absolutely have to TOOT YOUR OWN HORN!!
  5. 0
    The last time I posted was May 2010. Just one month later I was laid off.... I somewhat saw it coming yet was in denial. I loved every part of OHN and was very saddened. Many who post on this thread are correct in that OHN's are VERY desirable to companies. After having my position terminated I worked for a NP and loved it! A OHN job came up and I was not going to apply (until 3 people asked me if I had yet)! I applied and by the grace of God was hired. Of course the experience helped, their were so many applicants and only 4 of us were called for an interview. Happy to write that this company LOVES their employees and I LOVE this job. LOVE BEING AN OHN


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