What can I expect as OHN?? Please Help!

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    I'm trying to gain a better understanding of the responsibilities and daily duties of an OHN?? I've currently been working in a PICU for nearly the past 2 years (yeah, I know, big change) but I am ready for a change. I recently ran into a contact who is hiring for an OHN position and encouraged me to apply. I have been reading some of the threads to gain more perspective on OHN but still have many questions. Is there lots of paperwork?? Is it mostly a deskjob?? What's the stress level? What's a typical day entail?? Is it more enjoyable than floor nursing?
    Any honest answers and opinions would be greatly appreciated!
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  3. 3 Comments so far...

  4. 2
    I am a new OHN but find the job varies greatly from site to site (company to company). I work for the local hospital who staffs client clinics. My job entails being the company RN for 8 hours. I work days. This particular company has a nurse on site 24 hours, but not on weekends or holidays. Paperwork also depends on the company. My company is particular about how things are done because the company safety/health officer is greatly involved but other companies may not have as much paperwork. By paperwork, I mean understanding what paper to fill out and knowing what to tell employees their requirements are. It's not reams of paper. We also paper chart. (Easy, short SOAP charting.)

    My typical day is seeing people who are returning to work after absences or work restrictions, checking BPs, assessing people for various illnesses and treating them, making the decision to send them home or to the doc, and responding to an occasional in-plant emergency. The papertrail and involvement is greater for workers comp cases.

    I absolute LOVE my job. The stress level is nothing compared to the hospital. The most stress I encounter is people upset because we ran out of flu vax or they're having to wait in line for tx. The best part is, our mistakes won't kill anybody!

    Also, I do prn work at another clinic and all that happens there is BP checks. Honest. I don't understand how they've justified having a nurse there for 20+ years. (But I ain't saying nuthin'!) And some of our other clinics are more like doctor's offices. (They're staffed with NPs, yay.)

    Honestly, though, OHN is not for everyone. I like it because I was familiar with the industrial setting from a prior career and my father was a blue-collar worker. I love the client population. We also have white-collar employees, and I can relate to them, also. If you love the clinical setting, OH may not be for you. No lines, no narcs, no docs running around.

    If you want to ask specific questions, I'll do my best to answer.
    calliesue and 3rdcareerRN like this.
  5. 0
    Thank you very much for your response! You did a thorough job of explaining OHN. It really made me think when you mentioned not having to worry about making mistakes and harming a client (as is oftentimes seen in the hospital setting). This just might be the job for me. Now, I have 2 major concerns: 1) Am I competent to do this job without any OH experience?? I suppose you have to start somewhere though... but I have been working with PEDS. Is the job easily learned? (it's ok, be honest) 2) I feel that once I cross over into OHN, there's no turning back to floor nursing b/c I will quickly grow rusty on my skills as a floor nurse. It might just be a leap of faith I'll have to take.....
    You have been so helpful. Thank you!!
  6. 1
    Quote from Sunshine382
    Thank you very much for your response! You did a thorough job of explaining OHN. It really made me think when you mentioned not having to worry about making mistakes and harming a client (as is oftentimes seen in the hospital setting). This just might be the job for me. Now, I have 2 major concerns: 1) Am I competent to do this job without any OH experience?? I suppose you have to start somewhere though... but I have been working with PEDS. Is the job easily learned? (it's ok, be honest) 2) I feel that once I cross over into OHN, there's no turning back to floor nursing b/c I will quickly grow rusty on my skills as a floor nurse. It might just be a leap of faith I'll have to take.....
    You have been so helpful. Thank you!!
    My switch to OH was a leap of faith also. I left a full-time job in September to go prn for this group. But it felt right and I was convinced by the growth that things would be okay. And they are: I was offered a permanent position last week. How easy a job is learned depends on the site. Jobs can be so different depending on who they're for and where they're located. Some OHNs do lots of education (CPR and First Aid certifications, etc.), others have a lot of surveillance, like spirometries to measure lung function, phlebotomy to check environmental exposures, etc. Personally, I think all of it's easy to learn. Hey, if you can work in a hospital, you can do anything! As for losing skills, some nurses work part time or prn in clinical settings to keep their skills up. I thought about doing that but decided to focus on my family for the time being. My suggestion is to talk to your contact and find out what their needs are. Then you'll be able to make a decision and prepare for the interview. Good luck, and let me know if I can answer any more questions.
    Sunshine382 likes this.


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