This is also posted in the NP section, I hope that isn't a faux pas.
I've almost two years experience in Occupational Health Nursing. I'll sit for the COHN-S by November. I Have a BS/Chem; a BS/Safety Studies and an Assoc. D. in Nursing. Prior experience: 6 months Med/Surg; 8 months Adult ICU at a major tertiary hospital. I left there due to stress (and increasing BP) and a 2.5 hour/day commute plus reversing 12 hour shifts. I fell into Occupational Health Nursing and love it. My BP w/o meds now averages 117/67, at the ICU it averaged 168/95 w/meds.
I'd like to become ANP but with a focus in Occupational Health. But where, and how? I enjoy musculoskeletal issues, toxics, and emerging science like nano stuff. I'm quite passionate about problems that need solving.
I'm not young, and have $30k in loans already. It's getting to the point that I'll be paying long after people then my age will be retired. So cost is a factor. I live in NH and so the best places would have to be in NH/MA. Harvard/Simmons has a sub-specialty in Occ Health. Maybe any old ANP will do with the sub-specialty taken at Harvard/Simmons.
NIOSH has grants for the Harvard/Simmons sub-specialty, but I don't think they do for any, nor does there seem to be an ANP/subspecialty combo in Occ Health Nursing....
I'm 57. Age is the only thing that I lie about...everyone in my work life thinks that I'm 46. (I look young and am very fit). At age 57, having a loan with a 25 year payback, I'll still be paying at age 84. Now I do hope to be still working (or alive) then...I cannot imagine retiring but.... see the quandary? Also consider that twenty years in the future most industries will have as employees only two... one a dog, and the other a man. The man is there to feed the dog, the dog is there to make sure the man doesn't touch anything. *grin* But I'm willing to travel to Outer Sumanatstyan if necessary, there will always be work...
Have we any experienced Occ Health Nurses that might be willing to write or talk with me about suggestions or options? I have thought about programs in WA and NC and could move. Trying to figure out the best path gives me a HA.
I'm acutely aware of the need to plan a path, and to plan ahead in this rapidly changing world to be in demand. (Especially at 84!)
Sep 6, '07
I could have written your post -- except I really am 48.
I am switching from a high-stress oncology unit to OHN at the end of this month and am very interested in continuing as a NP. I hope you get some answers to your questions, because I want to read them. Thanks for posting!
Sep 14, '07
We could all be twins in this post. I have the same type of past and "found" myself living and loving it in Occ Health at 46. After 22 years military and 6 years FD/EMT-P I am a late bloomer into nursing. I complete my online BSN next year and have sign up as a "prospective student" for the UAB Adult NP with emphasis in Occ health afterwards. The beauty of using UAB is that it is a NIOSH center and you will be elligile for 100% tuition assistance. If you go to there website there are points of contacts to head you down the right path. This can be done for the most part "on-line" and at your local area with minimum on-site requirements. Good luck and let me know how you make out,
Last edit by traumaRUs on May 12, '09
: Reason: Please don't include email addys in your posts. Thanks.
Sep 14, '07
I am so excited by your post. I am at a crossroads and can't decide what to do.
After I start the new OHN job, I'd like to pursue one of three advance tracks: an online MPH through UNC-Chapel Hill (financial assistance through NIOSH; this is for management focus), the UAB OH NP, or a plain vanilla online FNP through an area univ and try to do clinical time in OHN. I don't know if I want to be a practitioner or go into management. I need to decide that first.
I've spoken with the UAB people and it was my understanding that the NP in OHN couldn't be totally completed online. Oh, and I would have to get a BSN first and I'm not sure I want to do that. I already have a BA and MSN in other fields and don't know if I have time to work on a BSN, not to mention that UAB is expensive.
Can you enlighten me? I would also appreciate anything you know about being an OH NP vs. going into management as well as any info you've gathered about financing. It appears there's financial support out there for those of us interested in OHN. (I already have a huge student loan to repay for my ASN.)
Thanks so much and I hope we can stay in touch. You can PM if you'd prefer or I don't mind your posting your answer. Might helps others. Thanks again!
Sep 14, '07
I have the same line of thinking. At first I wanted to go into NP, then I thought of case management, now I am back to the NP route. At least I have almost a year left to decide. Based upon my conversations with UAB, any course that is not offered on line I will be able to take elsewhere and have it transferred in without penalty. UAB is about a three hours drive for me which even though is a haul, will be cheaper if I can get NIOSH to pay for the courses.
I guess it comes down to what environment you like to work in. I myself would like to work in a simple clinic without the hustle and bustle or constant demands of desk and paper work. I may change my mind in the future, but for now I will try to make it work.
Sep 15, '07
Hi, I just looked at the Niosh Centers, and can't for the life of me find a NP route. Where can I find info on the UAB NP route? Actually I'd much rather spend time there, full-time or mostly, perhaps doing an internship--rather than do this online. I've a BS in Chemistry, a BS in Safety Studies and an ADN (Assoc. Deg. Nursing.) What I really, really missed in the two degrees following chemistry was the lack of truly exciting mentor material--it did not exist in the latter two degrees. I suspect that that "connection" between a mentor will not be there in distance learning. So if any of you know a route at a good full-time school to NP/Occ Health I'd love to hear about it. Do either of you know of any NIOSH sites NP in OH--and could you please point to them. I'm really frustrated lately--I got bounced out of my job when the nurse that I was covering for full time returned early. In the meantime my company hired two nurses that I suspect are working for bargain wages--and I find myself with very few hours of work in OH--and worse, with a non-compete agreement with my company who has virtually every industry tied up within driving distance--and get this. I've booked over 3800 of the necessary 4000 hours to sit for COHN-S. H60Medic I envy your background. People sometimes look at my ICU background and think that I'm well off--but I suspect that a few years of EMT then Paramedic would have been the way to go. ICU experience doesn't really prepare you for a worker with an arm that's lopped off. I personally don't like the MPH--I know way too many people from classy schools with MPH's--doing other things. But NP/MPH would be quite different, in my opinion. Thanks for the posts--let's keep in touch. Who knows in not to many years one of us might end up hiring the other...
Sep 15, '07
Glad to see your post -- and hate to hear about your hours. I am entering into OHN on a leap of faith because it's PRN to start, although the organization is very busy and growing, and everyone feels good about the possibilities of permanent part- or full-time employment soon.
Here's a link to UAB's OH program. It doesn't list a curriculum.
If you're interested, I suggest contacting Kathy Brown. I've had several informative conversations via email.
I appreciate your info re: MPH. Are your friends who are doing other things RNs? I will decide which route to take after I check out the scene around here (Knoxville, Tenn. area) and see where the opportunities are. I also know what you mean about ICU nursing. My background, albeit for a short tenure, is oncology. I have close friends in the ER, so I hope I will be able to do some "in-service" time with them and get the experience that many companies want.
Stay in touch. I feel like I have a support group!
RN007 aka Linda
Sep 15, '07
In my opinion, having been the nurse for a 400 person paper company where I dealt with six people down with a chloramine poisoning (a milder version of chlorine) and a crushed arm, and then having run a clinic for a 500 and an 800 person manufacturing facility--what one really needs is a year or two in the ED. Even though you may use it only occasionally the absence of knowledge is terrible. The other nurses are pretty much mild industry. I have a BS in Safety Studies so I kept getting shunted towards manufacturing. Still--ED comes in valuable there, be it possible MI or a bee sting allergy... Thanks for the link, I'll look into it.
Sep 16, '07
Unfortunately, I don't have the luxury of time in my situation, nor do I want to return to hospital work unless I can't help it. Fortunately, some of the OHN jobs in my area don't require ER work. For example, one job is for the city school system and is in a detached clinic with no emergency interventions. There are other similar positions. If it becomes apparent that extended ER work would be advantageous, I will see about weekends or riding w/EMTs and paramedics -- something I've always wanted to do. I am most excited about the choices I have in nursing -- far better and much more fulfilling than the corporate PR jobs I had in my prior career.
Sep 16, '07
I like the possibility of my class work on line, that is how I am doing my BSN now. The problem for me is the clinical hours required. It sure is a lot of time to spend away from work without pay. I still have six classes left before I have to make a choice as to where to pursue my MSN so I have not beat the bushes really hard yet trying to figure it all out. I would loved to hear from some other NP's as to how they made ends meet while completing the required hours.
Right now I am just getting some good OHN time and experience to set a good background and base. At least I work for a good company that is paying for my education and certifications.
I can't say as to any background that will make it better to be in the OHN field but I can say that the emergent care is where I feel the most comfortable. My view on it is that if you can breath and are not severly bleeding, I have time to make a phone call in order to make the correct decision. If the above two are not true, then it's showtime until EMS arrives.
Sep 16, '07
I, too, love online classes and you've asked an excellent question re: clinical hours. That's where being affiliated with a NIOSH program comes in handy, I suppose. I understand a candidate can receive tuition and stipend. (I'd love to know how much, exactly.)
Sep 17, '07
I had not heard about the stipend, hmm..., that makes it all the more doable. That is something that I will have to research. If you hear any info regarding please forward, and thanks,
May 11, '09
Just an update to any in the group still around. I completed my BSN last December and my first semester in the NIOSH Occ Health/ANP program at UAB. It certainly is hard work, but like most things in life you get what you give and it is working out nicely. Jim