Occupational health nursing is a specialty nursing practice that provides for and delivers health and safety programs and services to workers, worker populations, and community groups. The practice focuses on promotion, maintenance and restoration of health, prevention of illness and injury, and protection from work‐related and environmental hazards. Occupational health nurses (OHNs) aim to combine knowledge of health and business to balance safe and healthful work environments and a "healthy" bottom line.
Occupation health nursing can be found in almost every major healthcare facility. Saldana, Pimentel, and Posada (2019) describe occupation health as a niche in nursing that specializes in assessing and evaluating the "health status" of employees and function to maintain the highest level of well-being of the workforce. The key components of occupational health nursing involves prevention of illness and injury in the workplace, health and wellness, protection, and education (McCullagh & Berry, 2015). Nurses in occupational health also have a role in implementing research projects and incorporating evidence based practice into clinical practice (Saldana et al., 2019). Occupational health nursing is an important niche and works to protect and promote the wellbeing of the community and workforce (Saldana et al., 2019). KWiggancsu
In the United States the role of the occupational health nurse started in 1888. A nurse named Betty Moulder was hired by multiple coal mining companies in Pennsylvania to take care of their employees and families because of the conditions at the workplace. Because of this many people consider Pennsylvania as the birthplace of occupational health nursing [ citation needed ]Through the years occupational health nursing grew in order to fight against infectious diseases and health issues related to labor shortages. Today employees with poor health will cost companies one trillion dollars. Occupational health nurses are hired by companies within the United States in order to decrease job related injuries and absentee percentages. According to the CDC (2017), studies have shown that occupational health nurses provide significant financial benefits to employers and their employees . As of 2012, there were approximately 19,000 occupational health nurses in the U.S. Occupational health nurse training in the U.S. is supported by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health through the NIOSH Education and Research Centers.
Modern roles of Occupational Health Nurses are as diverse as clinicians to educators. As the profession progresses the responsibilities of this profession have also grown. Some of the areas that occupation nurses are responsible for but are not limited to:
Case Management: OHNs routinely coordinate and manage the care of ill and injured workers. Occupational Health Nurses role as case managers has grown as they now assist with the coordination and management of work-related and non-work related injuries and illness, which includes group health, worker's compensation and Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) as well as short/long term disability.
Health Promotion and risk reduction: OHNs develop programs that promote lifestyle change and individual efforts that lower risk of disease and injury. OHNs also assist in creating environments that provide a sense of balance among work, family, personal, health and psychosocial concerns. Additional strategies to assist in health promotion to keep workers healthy and productive include immunizations, smoking cessation, exercise/fitness, nutrition and weight control, stress management, chronic disease management, and use of medical services.
Counseling and crisis intervention: Occupational Health Nurses (OHNs) offer counseling to workers for many issues. They provide counseling for common challenges such as work-related issues and injuries (American Association of Occupational Health Nurse [AAOHN], n.d.). They also provide counseling for other issues such as substance abuse, psychological issues, concerns for health and wellness, etc. (AAOHN, n.d.). OHNs can also manage employee assistance programs, take charge of referrals, and coordinate follow-up of community resources (AAOHN, n.d.). (apaulCSU)
Workplace hazard identification: OHNs can detect hazards or potential hazards in the workplace. They are able to conduct research in order to monitor, evaluate, and analyze certain hazardous elements (AAOHN, n.d.). Conducting research assists in developing a safety plan and implementing preventative and control measures (AAOHN, n.d.). Examples of workplace hazards include toxic chemical exposure, confined spaces, frayed cords, infectious material exposure, extreme heat/cold conditions, and injuries such as falls. It is important to detect patterns and implement changes to promote a safer workplace environment. (apaulCSU)
Occupational Health Nurses need a license in the state they practice. Nurses usually have a baccalaureate in nursing and experience in community health, ambulatory care, critical care or emergency care (Wachs, 2017). Most occupational health nurses get their master’s degrees in public health, advanced practice or business to have a higher professional competency (Wachs, 2017). Nurses can get certified in occupational health nursing through The American Board for Occupational Health Nurse, INC (Wachs, 2017).
Occupational Health is projected to grow by 12% 2022 (McCauley & Peterman, 2017). Health and wellness in the workplace areas becoming more important than ever. Healthcare reform is set to improve access to deliver healthcare services for all individuals (McCauley & Peterman, 2017). The demand for occupational health nurses will increase due to the reform. Workplaces today have rising insurance costs and worker compensation cases, this creates a need for qualified occupational health nurses who understand the healthcare market (Peckham et al., 2017). Most cooperation’s have incorporated a wellness program to help decrease employee related injury and illness (Peckham et al., 2017). Also, many companies are taking precautions to prevent lawsuits.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is protective clothing, helmets, goggles, or other garments or equipment designed to protect the wearer's body from injury or infection. The hazards addressed by protective equipment include physical, electrical, heat, chemicals, biohazards, and airborne particulate matter. Protective equipment may be worn for job-related occupational safety and health purposes, as well as for sports and other recreational activities. "Protective clothing" is applied to traditional categories of clothing, and "protective gear" applies to items such as pads, guards, shields, or masks, and others. PPE suits can be similar in appearance to a cleanroom suit.
A blood-borne disease is a disease that can be spread through contamination by blood and other body fluids. Blood can contain pathogens of various types, chief among which are microorganisms, like bacteria and parasites, and non-living infectious agents such as viruses. Three bloodborne pathogens in particular, all viruses, are cited as of primary concern to health workers by the CDC-NIOSH: HIV, hepatitis B (HVB), & hepatitis C (HVC).
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 is a US labor law governing the federal law of occupational health and safety in the private sector and federal government in the United States. It was enacted by Congress in 1970 and was signed by President Richard Nixon on December 29, 1970. Its main goal is to ensure that employers provide employees with an environment free from recognized hazards, such as exposure to toxic chemicals, excessive noise levels, mechanical dangers, heat or cold stress, or unsanitary conditions. The Act created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
An occupational injury is bodily damage resulting from working. The most common organs involved are the spine, hands, the head, lungs, eyes, skeleton, and skin. Occupational injuries can result from exposure to occupational hazards, such as temperature, noise, insect or animal bites, blood-borne pathogens, aerosols, hazardous chemicals, radiation, and occupational burnout.
Occupational hygiene is the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, control, and confirmation of protection from hazards at work that may result in injury, illness, or affect the well being of workers. These hazards or stressors are typically divided into the categories biological, chemical, physical, ergonomic and psychosocial. The risk of a health effect from a given stressor is a function of the hazard multiplied by the exposure to the individual or group. For chemicals, the hazard can be understood by the dose response profile most often based on toxicological studies or models. Occupational hygienists work closely with toxicologists for understanding chemical hazards, physicists for physical hazards, and physicians and microbiologists for biological hazards Environmental and occupational hygienists are considered experts in exposure science and exposure risk management. Depending on an individual's type of job, a hygienist will apply their exposure science expertise for the protection of workers, consumers and/or communities.
A health professional may provide health care treatment and advice based on formal training and experience. The field includes those who work as a physician, surgeon, physician assistants, nurse, physiotherapist, dentist, midwife, psychologist, psychiatrist, or pharmacist or who perform services in allied health professions. A health professional may also be a public health or community health practitioner.
An occupational hazard is a hazard experienced in the workplace. Occupational hazards can encompass many types of hazards, including chemical hazards, biological hazards (biohazards), psychosocial hazards, and physical hazards. In the United States, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conduct workplace investigations and research addressing workplace health and safety hazards resulting in guidelines. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) establishes enforceable standards to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses. In the EU a similar role is taken by EU-OSHA.
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are injuries or pain in the human musculoskeletal system, including the joints, ligaments, muscles, nerves, tendons, and structures that support limbs, neck and back. MSDs can arise from a sudden exertion, or they can arise from making the same motions repeatedly repetitive strain, or from repeated exposure to force, vibration, or awkward posture. Injuries and pain in the musculoskeletal system caused by acute traumatic events like a car accident or fall are not considered musculoskeletal disorders. MSDs can affect many different parts of the body including upper and lower back, neck, shoulders and extremities. Examples of MSDs include carpal tunnel syndrome, epicondylitis, tendinitis, back pain, tension neck syndrome, and hand-arm vibration syndrome.
Occupational medicine, until 1960 called industrial medicine, is the branch of medicine which is concerned with the maintenance of health in the workplace, including prevention and treatment of diseases and injuries, with secondary objectives of maintaining and increasing productivity and social adjustment in the workplace.
Workplace health surveillance or occupational health surveillance (U.S.) is the ongoing systematic collection, analysis, and dissemination of exposure and health data on groups of workers. The Joint ILO/WHO Committee on Occupational Health at its 12th Session in 1995 defined an occupational health surveillance system as “a system which includes a functional capacity for data collection, analysis and dissemination linked to occupational health programmes”.
Nursing is a profession within the health care sector focused on the care of individuals, families, and communities so they may attain, maintain, or recover optimal health and quality of life. Nurses may be differentiated from other health care providers by their approach to patient care, training, and scope of practice. Nurses practice in many specialties with differing levels of prescription authority. Many nurses provide care within the ordering scope of physicians, and this traditional role has shaped the public image of nurses as care providers. However, nurse practitioners are permitted by most jurisdictions to practice independently in a variety of settings. Since the postwar period, nurse education has undergone a process of diversification towards advanced and specialized credentials, and many of the traditional regulations and provider roles are changing.
A physical hazard is an agent, factor or circumstance that can cause harm with contact. They can be classified as type of occupational hazard or environmental hazard. Physical hazards include ergonomic hazards, radiation, heat and cold stress, vibration hazards, and noise hazards. Engineering controls are often used to mitigate physical hazards.
Occupational safety and health (OSH), also commonly referred to as health and safety, occupational health and safety (OHS), occupational health, or occupational safety, is a multidisciplinary field concerned with the safety, health, and welfare of people at work. These terms also refer to the goals of this field, so their use in the sense of this article was originally an abbreviation of occupational safety and health program/department etc.
Total Worker Health is a trademarked strategy defined as policies, programs, and practices that integrate protection from work-related safety and health hazards with promotion of injury and illness prevention efforts to advance worker well-being. It was conceived and is funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Total Worker Health is tested and developed in six Centers of Excellence for Total Worker Health in the United States.
Engineering controls are strategies designed to protect workers from hazardous conditions by placing a barrier between the worker and the hazard or by removing a hazardous substance through air ventilation. Engineering controls involve a physical change to the workplace itself, rather than relying on workers' behavior or requiring workers to wear protective clothing.
Patient-initiated violence is a specific form of workplace violence that affects healthcare workers that is the result of verbal, physical, or emotional abuse from a patient or family members of whom they have assumed care. Nurses represent the highest percentage of affected workers; however, other roles include physicians, therapists, technicians, home care workers, and social workers. Non clinical workers are also assaulted, for example, security guards, cleaners, clerks, technicians. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration used 2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics and reported that healthcare workplace violence requiring days absent from work from patients represented 80% of cases. In 2014, a survey by the American Nurses Association of 3,765 21% of nurses and nursing students reported physical abuse and over 50% reported verbal abuse within a 12-month period. Causes for patient outbursts vary, including psychiatric diagnosis, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or subject to a long wait time. Certain areas are more at risk for this kind of violence including healthcare workers in psychiatric settings, emergency or critical care, or long term care and dementia units.
The Association of Occupational Health Professionals in Healthcare (AOHP) is a professional association focusing on the health, safety, and well-being of health professionals. It is the only national professional organization in the United States with the exclusive mission of addressing the needs and concerns of occupational health professionals in healthcare settings.
Workplace robotics safety is an aspect of occupational safety and health when robots are used in the workplace. This includes traditional industrial robots as well as emerging technologies such as drone aircraft and wearable robotic exoskeletons. Types of accidents include collisions, crushing, and injuries from mechanical parts. Hazard controls include physical barriers, good work practices, and proper maintenance.
Travel health nursing is an emerging nursing specialty that promotes the health and safety of national and international travellers. Similar to travel medicine, it is an interdisciplinary practice which draws from the knowledge bases of vaccines, epidemiology, tropical medicine, public health and health education. Throughout the recent years, it has become an emerging profession, increasing high in demand, due to the evolution of travel medicine in the last two decades. The significance of a travel health nurse was recognised in 1996, hence additional education and training was provided to them in order to develop their service. Moreover, travel health nurses are seen working in ‘private practice, hospital outpatient units, universities, the government, and the military’. Since, the importance of travel health has been acknowledged, travel health nurses have more opportunities consisting leading roles, within the health care sector practices. However, travel health nurses tend to face a number of conflicts amongst the GPs and patients in healthcare settings.
Hazard controls for COVID-19 in US workplaces are the application of occupational safety and health methodologies for hazard controls to the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The proper hazard controls in the workplace depend on the worksite and job task, based on an occupational risk assessment of sources of exposure, disease severity in the community, and risk factors of individual workers who may be vulnerable to contracting COVID-19.
|url=value (help). American Association of Occupational Health Nurses. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
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Romero Saldaña, M., Moreno Pimentel, A. G., & Santos Posada, A. (2019). Occupational Health Nursing: Competence and experience to achieve the safety, health and well-being of the working population. Enfermería Clínica (English Edition), 29(6), 375–379. https://proxy.ulib.csuohio.edu:2096/10.1016/j.enfcle.2019.09.005
McCauley, L., & Peterman, K. (2017). The Future of Occupational Health Nursing in a Changing Health Care System. Workplace Health & Safety, 65(4), 168–173. https://doi.org/10.1177/2165079917699641
Peckham, T. K., Baker, M. G., Camp, J. E., Kaufman, J. D., & Seixas, N. S. (2017). Creating a Future for Occupational Health. Annals of Work Exposures and Health, 61(1), 3–15. https://doi.org/10.1093/annweh/wxw011
Wachs, J. E. (2017). The American Association of Occupational Health Nurses: Seventy-Five Years of Education, Practice, and Research. Workplace Health & Safety, 65(4), 148–153. https://doi.org/10.1177/2165079917701139
Canadian Occupational Health Nursing Association-Association Canadienne des Infirmieres et Infiriers en Sante du Travail Inc
(AOHNA) Alberta Occupational Health Nurses Association