Is OCH nursing right for me? Advice needed Obi-wans

  1. Hi Everyone!

    I was hoping some of you seasoned Occupational Health Nurses could give me some pointers!
    Before I became a nurse, I used to work for a small installation company that maintained a warehouse for 16 years. Some of my duties included handling all workers compensation & automobile accident investigations and reporting (to insurance); OSHA recordkeeping; Creating light duty positions for employees; Safety walk throughs with insurance company. I was never formally trained, but I loved my job but alas there was no where for me to move up in the company and I was maxed out on salary.
    I have been working as a medical surgical nurse in a local hospital for 3 years now. I must say bedside nursing is not where I want to be. I miss my old job and having a relationship with my fellow employees. From what I read, I think I would enjoy Occupational Nursing considerably. I have a few questions however…

    • Do you have to have a BSN to apply for these positions?
    • I read you need Get at least 3,000 hours of experience in occupational health to become certified. Many of the jobs I was looking at said you need to be certified. Where can I start to get the experience I need?
    • What type of skills or special training do you need for this job? Do you draw blood? Do you need critical care or case management experience?
    • What is the salary like? Is it comparable to working in a hospital? Do you have chance to go up the pay ladder?


    I also have a lot of student loan debt I am trying to pay back. I am working towards Public Service Loan Forgiveness which say I need to work for:
    • Government organizations at any level (federal, state, local, or tribal)
    • Not-for-profit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code
    • Other types of not-for-profit organizations that are not tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, if their primary purpose is to provide certain types of qualifying public services

    Serving as a full-time AmeriCorps or Peace Corps volunteer also counts as qualifying employment for the PSLF Program.
    The following types of employers do not qualify for PSLF:

    • Labor unions
    • Partisan political organizations
    • For-profit organizations (this includes for-profit government contractors)
    • Not-for-profit organizations that are not tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and that do not provide a qualifying public service as their primary function
    Do you know of any organizations I could apply for that would fit these criteria? The Employee health department at my hospital is staffed with nurses who hurt themselves at work and can no longer work on the floor :P and no openings.

    I appreciate any input you guys could put in! Have a great day!
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  2. 1 Comments

  3. by   Rbeck911
    • Do you have to have a BSN to apply for these positions?

      No
    • I read you need Get at least 3,000 hours of experience in occupational health to become certified. Many of the jobs I was looking at said you need to be certified. Where can I start to get the experience I need?

      It's hard to get into. You pretty much have to wait for an opening to pop up, BUT, with your knowledge of OSHA prior to your nursing school, that could be of great benefit in getting a spot.
    • What type of skills or special training do you need for this job? Do you draw blood? Do you need critical care or case management experience?

      Case management is big, blood draws, spirometry, CPR instructor, hearing conservationist.
    • What is the salary like? Is it comparable to working in a hospital? Do you have chance to go up the pay ladder?

      No, occ health (at least in my experience) is one of the highest paying fields in nursing. It's a specialty and takes a particular personality.

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