How Do You Become an Occupational Health Nurse?

As you pursue different possibilities in your nursing career, you might be interested in learning how to become an occupational health nurse. As you can probably tell from the job title, nursing in this area has to do with helping patients with health issues that arise in the workplace. Occupational health nurses work in a variety of areas such as health education and prevention as well as the promotion of disease management with illnesses or injuries that are connected to the workplace. If you have an interest in or background in business as well as a desire to work in healthcare, then this could be a job you want to explore.

Educational Requirements for Occupational Health Nursing

Becoming this kind of nurse starts, as do almost all nursing jobs, with becoming a registered nurse (RN). If you are planning a long-term career in nursing, you will probably be encouraged to pursue your RN via a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), a four year degree that can help you to strengthen and advance your career. A BSN can also help you to grow you career because it enables you to go on for a graduate degree. While not all occupational health nurses have graduate degrees, some do. As master’s degree in certain areas, like public health, can go a long way toward helping you to be efficient in occupational health.

Pursuing Certification

Whether or not you hold a bachelors degree or a higher degree, you can pursue certification in occupational health nursing. Certification is offered through the American Board for Occupational Health Nurses, which provides two different credential programs. One of them is Certified Occupational Health Nurse, which focuses on clinical practice. The other is Certified Occupational Health Nurse РSpecialist, which focuses on administration. To get either credential, you will need to sit for and pass the offered exam. Before you can sit for the test, you will need a number of hours of relevant work experience or go through a certificate or relevant grad program. Like most health care certifications, you need to keep up with the field in order to hold onto your certification and officially renew it every four years.

Although certification is not absolutely necessary in this field, it can be very helpful. You can learn a great deal through the process that will help you to be a professional OHN who helps workers and their employers make good decisions regarding health and safety on the job. Employers will appreciate your knowledge and expertise in coordinating and planning health services whether you work primarily as an educator, a consultant, a case manager, or a clinician. Sometimes having a certified nurse can also help a company become more compliant with legal requirements from environmental and safety organizations. Certified OHNs are also sometimes paid more than non-certified nurses in the field.

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An interest in the business world as well as the healthcare world might nudge you in the direction of occupational health. If helping workers stay safe and manage their health sounds like a goal you could get behind, then you might want to become an occupational health nurse.