A. Occupational health nurses are registered nurses who specialise in caring for the health and wellbeing of people at work. They also work with employers to ensure work practices and the work environment are protective of workers’ health.Occupational health nurses often work as part of a multidisciplinary team including generalist OHS practitioners, medical practitioners, return to work coordinators and human resources advisors/managers.
A. The work undertaken by an OHN will vary depending on the type of industry and workplace. Their tasks may include:
Treating acute injuries and illnesses in the workplace
Managing longer term injuries and illnesses and return-to-work in conjunction with other health care providers
Assessing and advising on potential health hazards in the workplace
Monitoring and analysing injury and illness statistics and trends
Encouraging better health and wellbeing, and advising on disease prevention strategies
Conducting health education and training programs
Managing administering vaccination programs
The combination of nursing and occupational health expertise means that OHNs bring a valuable set of skills to workplaces including highly developed communication and problem solving skills and the ability to work effectively in a team to optimise outcomes for workers and employers.
A. In Australia, Occupational health nursing is not currently an AHPRA recognised nursing specialty, so there is no specific qualification required (over and above a nursing qualification) to work in this field or describe yourself as an occupational health nurse. However, there is a range of knowledge and skills you will need to be able to fulfill an occupational health nursing role as described below.
A. ANZSOM is currently developing a document that will outline the required competencies for occupational health nursing. We hope to launch it in 2022. This will help inform future training and certification of occupational health nurses.
A. If you are a registered nurse looking to build a career in occupational health nursing there are a number of courses available, including general courses in occupational medicine and health, and specialist courses for skills such as vaccinations, spirometry etc. Follow this link to our courses page.
A. Occupational health nurses work across a wide range of industries. Commonly, these positions are available in large organisations where they may be significant health risks to manage, including hospitals, manufacturing, airlines and other transport, mining, education, large retail and warehousing organisations. Many roles for occupational health nurses are fulfilled on a contracted basis through outsourcing nursing services, occupational medicine providers or travel health providers.
A. Workplace health is an important and growing area, and the COVID situation has brought this into sharp focus. With a mix of clinical and workplace health and safety expertise, occupational health nurses are well placed to help meet the current and future needs.
A. As an occupational health nurse, you have a lot to gain by engaging with other occupational health nurses as well as medical practitioners and other allied health professionals. ANZSOM provides an extensive range of professional development and networking opportunities to help you develop your career in this exciting area.