ANZSOM Occupational Health Nurse Recognition Program
Introducing ANZSOM's Occupational Health Nurse Competency Standards and Recognition Program
Sally Kane - ANZSOM Nurse Liaison Officer
Occupational health nurses 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.
While this is a highly regarded role, it is not currently recognised as a nursing specialty under the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and there is no specific qualification required (over and above a nursing qualification) to work in this field. ANZSOM has therefore established the ANZSOM Occupational Health Nurse Recognition Program in order to:
Provide professional recognition for occupational health nurses achieving defined levels of competency
Sustain a consistent standard of professional practice among occupational health nurses
Establish ANZSOM as the lead body for recognition and development of occupational health nurses
Support employers in securing suitably qualified and skilled occupational health nurses (noting that ANZSOM recognition does not guarantee a person’s suitability for a particular position)
Facilitate access to suitable postgraduate training for nurses seeking a career in occupational health nursing.
The ANZSOM Occupational Health Nurse Recognition Program is one of three initiatives supporting nurses and the profession of occupational nursing in Australia. It flows from the development of OHN Competency Standards, which describe the areas of knowledge and skill expected of an occupational health nurse. A further initiative is ANZSOM’s commitment to continuing education, which is designed to ensure nurses can source the professional development necessary to maintain their competencies.
A candidate is required to have a Bachelor of Nursing degree (Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)) or an equivalent qualification that enables the person to be registered with AHPRA. Candidates must provide documented evidence of these qualifications, such as a graduation certificate.
Applicants will be required to be currently working in the field of occupational health nursing or occupational health more broadly. For the purpose of this program, “current” means employed within the last 6 months and actively seeking employment in the field if not currently employed.
The ANZSOM OHN Competency Standards are presented in seven domains:
Legislation, standards, codes of practice and guidelines
Principles of occupational health nursing
Collaboration and communication
Prevention of work-related illness and injury
Managing injury, illness and return to work
Promoting worker health and wellbeing
Quality and continuous improvement
The candidate demonstrates achievement against these competencies in several ways:
Through evidence of additional qualifications and training. This may include general qualifications such as an OHN qualification, Master of Public Health, degree in occupational health and safety, occupational medicine, or specific training such as in audiometry, spirometry, vaccination etc
Through evidence of current and past employment
Through two referee statements. At least one of references will be familiar with the work performed by the applicant and will testify as to the applicant’s duties, responsibilities, work performance and length of experience.
Through a self-assessment against each of the nine standards drawing on the above.
Application and renewal process
Applications are made online using the link below.
Applications are assessed by the Program Governance Committee on behalf of the ANZSOM General Council. The Program Governance Committee may seek additional evidence of the applicant’s ability to meet the criteria. This may be through request for more information or through interview.
Unsuccessful candidates will be provided with feedback regarding the gaps in competencies or other criteria and advice about how these might be addressed.
Recognition under the program is valid for three years, at which time the OHN must reapply before the expiry date, demonstrating that they continue to meet the requirements, including compliance with the AHPRA 20 hour/year CPD requirement.
The application cost is $300 (inc GST). This is non-refundable and is applied at initial application and renewal. If the application is unsuccessful, the candidate may reapply within a 12 month period at no additional cost.
Evidence of achievement and use of the Recognition Program brand
Occupational Health Nurses who have been found by the Program Governance Committee to meet the requirements of the Recognition Program will receive a certificate to this effect which provides the main evidence of their standing. They will be permitted to use the program logo and the phrase ANZSOM Recognised OHN on their professional communications, business cards, social; media profiles etc, while they continue to meet the requirements outlined above and while they remain an ANZSOM member.