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50 something ASN thinking of OHN


I've toyed with occupational health, even applied at Chrysler when they posted openings without specific requirements.

I'd like to be direct to the what's of becoming COHN. Online classes? Any recommendations?

Is BSN prereq? Pros and cons of the job?


Rbeck911, BSN, RN

Specializes in Occupational Health / EMS.

Hi there,

Occupational health can be a very rewarding, although stressful, job. BSN is not a prereq for COHN, but is for COHN-S (specialist). An ASN and even an LPN can find gainful employment in occupational health. I have been in Occ health for a couple of years now, so having gained some experience I can give you some insight into the job itself. You cannot put a price on taking care of working class middle aged and young adult patients. No geriatrics... need I say more? Of course there are nurses very dedicated to that field, but personally, I don't care for it. Props to those that do, as you are very needed. Occupational health nurses typically work 5 shifts per week, 8 hours Monday through Friday. On-call is essential to the job on the weekends when workers are in mandatory overtime. Nurses who seek and enjoy autonomy will love occ health. Typically, there are standing orders and medical direction via phone, but you are it when it comes to first line treatments. There are a lot of OSHA mandated programs that you have to be responsible for in Occ Health such as mandatory respirator, hearing conservation, OSHA recordkeeping, etc. My advice is if you enter this field, take the OSHA 30 hour as soon as possible as it will explain a lot of the things you would otherwise have to learn as you go. If you have any more questions, let me know!

Rbeck911, BSN, RN

Specializes in Occupational Health / EMS.

Oh, and brush up on your trauma skills if you have been in a med surg type field for a while. Seek out a pre-hospital trauma life support class (PHTLS) and make sure you have a current AHA BLS certification. You will need those skills!