Occupational health RNs keep employees and workplaces safe by monitoring individual employee health and the conditions of the surrounding environments in which they work. These skilled medical professionals are generally employed in business or community settings, and focus their efforts on both illness prevention and recovery.
Maintaining both a healthy workforce and a healthy bottom line are their main areas of concern, making this a desirable career for healthcare professionals looking to branch out from a more traditional clinical setting. Given this unique blend of business- and health-related duties, occupational health RNs work closely with employees and employers to implement health programs that keep workers safe and reduce healthcare-related costs for employers. In the event of injury or illness, occupational health RNs switch hats to ensure employees receive proper care and treatment.
Other typical duties include:
- assessing workplace conditions to identify hazards and areas of concern
- developing safety policies and leading training sessions to ensure adherence
- advising employees on healthy lifestyle habits outside work, like nutrition, exercise and stress management
- investigating onsite accidents to identify policy gaps and determine if the work environment was a contributing factor
- performing drug and alcohol tests and physical examinations to clear employees for work
how do you become an occupational health RN?
The path to becoming an occupational health RN starts with cementing the basics, and aspiring occupational health RNs are expected to study nursing before continuing to specialize further. Educational requirements include:
- completion of an accredited school/program for nursing
- a diploma, associate degree or bachelor's degree in nursing
- a relevant state license for desired working location
Once you get some experience under your belt, the American Board for Occupational Health Nurses also offers a certificate program to continue honing your expertise. This certification is entirely optional, but it can be a worthwhile endeavor for those looking to advance their studies and further their careers.
what are the key skills of an occupational health RN?
While the educational requirements remain very similar to those of nurses working in hospitals and healthcare facilities, the individual skills needed to succeed on the job can differ. If you're looking to take on a new role as an occupational health RN, you'll want to be able to embody the following traits and show competence in areas like:
- case management
- employee medical clearance and review
- local medical office partnerships
- medical record keeping
- OSHA compliance
- pre-employment examination
- public health
- workplace safety
how much does an occupational health RN make?
Based on the latest compensation data, average hourly wages for occupational health RNs can be broken out into three tiers, depending on factors like location, market, responsibilities and level of expertise. The three tiers are:
In terms of salaries, occupational health RNs can expect to earn:
National averages can get you started, but if you're looking for more precise salary information tailored to your local market, just visit our online salary comparison tool to sort it out in seconds.
From the ins and outs of the role to the core educational requirements and salary you can expect, you should have a pretty good picture about life as an occupational health RN.
To quickly recap, we've gone over:
- what occupational health RNs do
- education, training and certifications you'll typically need for the role
- essential skills for success
- salary expectations
- … and a whole lot more!
Armed with this essential information, all that's left to do is to apply! Start your search with Randstad and see all the new occupational health RN opportunities we have waiting for you today.