What Is Occupational Health Nursing? Salary?

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    The foundation of occupational health nursing is epidemiology, work advocacy, occupational health risk assessment, critical thinking, and educational principals. The Occupational Health Nurse specialty focuses on promotion and restoration of health, prevention of illness and injury, and protection from work-related and environmental hazards.

    What Is Occupational Health Nursing? Salary?

    We are all familiar with OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Since its creation in 1970, this governmental agency has been charged with the mission of "assuring safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance." This is a major task that affects millions of workers and employers in the United States. What role do nurses play in the efforts ensuring that these goals are met?

    Occupational Health Nurses work closely with employers to make sure that health and safety standards are met. They are instrumental in maintaining optimal employee health as they focus on preventative health care. They are responsible for observing and assessing workers' health status in relation to job tasks and work hazards.


    The Occupational Health Nurse position requires a broad scope of knowledge and skills in many areas. The OHN must work with employees and employers on compliance with the many regulations and laws affecting the workplace. It is imperative that the OHN have extensive knowledge of the following laws and regulations: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Workers' Compensation Act, and the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA).


    The roles and responsibilities of the occupational health nurse are diverse, covering many of the wide-ranging issues related to occupational health and safety. These nurses work as clinicians, educators, case managers, policy maker, program evaluator, corporate directors, and consultants.

    Typical Occupational Health Nurse activities and duties include:
    • Observation and assessment of both the worker and the work environment
    • Interpretation and evaluation of the worker's medical and occupational history, subjective complaints, and physical examination, along with any laboratory values or other diagnostic screening tests, industrial hygiene and personal exposure monitoring values.
    • Interpretation of medical diagnosis to workers and their employers
    • Appraisal of the work environment for potential exposures
    • Identification of abnormalities
    • Description of the worker's response to the exposures
    • Management of occupational and non-occupational illness and injury
    • Documentation of the injury or illness
    • Emergency care for job-related injuries and illnesses
    • Employee treatment, follow-up case management, and referrals
    • Emergency preparedness/disaster planning
    • Provider of health and safety programs to workers and community groups
    • Development of health education and disease management and prevention programs that encourage workers to take responsibility of their own health

    Work Environment

    The work environment for Occupational Health Nurses is as diverse as their roles, ranging from classroom (educator) to boardroom (corporate director) to clinic (clinician, case manager) to business setting (consultant). Although the work schedule is usually M-F, it may vary depending on the work environment, position, and responsibilities.


    Occupational Health Nurses are registered nurses, licensed to practice in the states in which they are employed. Typically, nurses entering the field have a baccalaureate degree in nursing and experience in community health, ambulatory care, critical care, or emergency nursing.


    Certification in Occupational and Environmental Nursing is highly recommended. The American Board for Occupational Health Nurses (ABOHN) conducts a program of certification for qualified occupational health nurses. Criteria for certification requires 4,000 hours of work experience in the field within 5 years, 50 contact hours of continuing education in the specialty, and successful completion of a national examination.


    According to salary.com, the salary for an Occupational Health Nurses ranges between $57,600 and $86,600, with the average salary of $71,500. This varies with location, experience, and education.

    Occupational Health Nurses Play a Vital Role in Industry

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    Last edit by Joe V on Jan 27, '17
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