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- by Jen11RN Oct 6, '11I am recently a new graduate. It is very difficult to get a job in my area at this moment. However, I have been offered a position as an occupational health nurse. This position has good pay, great hours, and is a good company. Although I am worried I will not get the experience I need and will not be albe to change jobs in the future. If I take this position. It is alot of paper work and not alot of hands on... Do you think I will be able to transfer to a hospital in a few years if I wish too? I have also been offered a positon at a jail part-time. I was thinking about doing this also so I can get some hands on experience. Any suggestions are appreciated. These are not my dream jobs but they are JOBS. I do not know what my passion is so I figure I should start somewhere
- Oct 10, '11 by katkonkOccupational Health IS a dream job for many people, however if your goal is to work in patient care, and you want to transition to the hospital, don't take the Occ. Health job. Go to the jail part time, and pick up whatever else you can pick up to make up the full time hours equivalent. Work in a clinic, doctor's office, outpatient, occupational health clinic (like Concentra), home health, get real, hands on patient experience. The jail will be GREAT experience, and a ton of it! It is also a great place to practice those new skills like phlebotomy, learn your pharmacology even better, etc. I have worked in both areas, and prison nursing is super for experience, although I usually recommend that prison nurses have some experience BEFORE you go in. But, if that is an option, GO for it. Otherwise you will learn to manage FMLA, ADA, workers comp paperwork, etc. and you will definitely not have any skills to present to a hospital when you are ready, and they will not be interested. After 3 years of working in a critical care environment, I became an Occ Health nurse for 4 years. When that business was bought out and closed, I had a very hard time getting anyone to even look at me for going back into hospital work. It was like "well, you've been gone 4 years, and we want someone who is more current". I was amazed at the trouble I had finding a job. As a new grad, things for you would be much, much worse. So, go to the jail, pick up anything you can outside of the jail (you will probably find that if you do a good job, they will use you a lot), keep your ultimate goal in mind. Good luck!
- Oct 25, '11 by 42pinesKatkonk is correct. In several years you will not be able to transfer to a hospital unless you do it as a "returning to work RN." The skills are compatible but usually an Occ-Health nurse comes from a hospital, preferably ED (though ICU/Med Surg is often acceptable).
However, this being said--could you possibly do both? The jail job will give you plenty of on-hand skills. Now consider this: To be truly desirable in Occ-Health you need to become COHN (see AAOHN.org). To sit for the COHN exam (See: ABOHN.org) you need to have accrued 3000 hours (almost two years, full time) of predominant Occ-Health experience.
The problem for many is accruing the 3000 hours because most jobs want COHN to start with, and how can you get 3000 hours if you aren't already COHN? Here you have a unique opportunity to easily accrue the 3000 hours. With the COHN cert, your ability to be hired increases exponentially. Further, if you work towards becoming an Advanced Nurse Practitioner, the combination gives you a unique opportunity to become the Occ-Health nurse at a small hospital.
This combination, which admittedly will take you 3-5 years to achieve (but your company may pay for your ANP education) and in 5 years you will be uniquely situated with one of the most desired sets of certs RN/ANP/COHN. I predict that in 5 years you will be able to pull $90-100k annually.
Your path might be a bit like putting the cart before the horse, but you could do it. There is a lot to be said about good pay/good hours/great company in this economic depression we are in, and will likely be in for many years.
Good luck with whatever your choice is.