Registered nurses (RN) that wish to become an occupational health nurse
(OHN) may choose from a couple of options, but this could depend on the nurses' education and experience. If a RN has earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, they may apply to a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program and specialize in occupation health. RNs could also choose to enroll in occupational nursing certification programs to help them enter the occupational health area. Both of these programs are available through online education, so RNs who would like to continue working full-time while receiving training may be able to do both.
When looking into what courses an online OHN certification program covers; management and record keeping are the most common subjects. These courses teach students different techniques to keep and maintain logs of illnesses, injuries, and individual patients. These courses also help students become familiar with the kind of environment that they would be exposed to in real jobs. Students take courses that teach ergonomics and direct nursing care. This may include detailed training in first aid and emergency care, which teaches students how to prepare for and take care of emergency situations and stabilize those in need of care.
Environmental Health and Safety
This is also a course that is taught in online nursing certifications. This course helps students become acquainted with how the environment may affect people and their health. This course helps students realize what to assess when studying a work environment, and help in determining what optimal work conditions may be suitable for people. The course will cover light and ventilation needs, and help students learn how to set assessment tools. It may also cover aspects pertaining to noise, and how noise affects workers in jobs where they are exposed to high levels of sound and noise. An important aspect of this course is to help students become equipped with enough knowledge to effectively pursue health and safety professional roles.
All health and safety personnel and OHNs need to take a certification test in order to become licensed professionals. Certification courses have a segment that helps students prepare for these exams. Courses may be taught that cover legal and ethical issues as well. These help students learn the basic research tools necessary for conducting toxic matter exposure tests and treat such issues effectively.
Program Duration and Job Outlook
Occupational health nursing programs vary in their duration. Certification programs take less time and students are usually required to take 12 to 14 credit hours to complete the program. This program could take nine months to one year to complete. MSN degree programs require students to complete between 56 and 60 credit hours, and they usually take two years to complete. A student's enrollment status and academic progress could change the time it takes to complete a program too. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that occupational health and safety technicians earned a median annual salary of $47,440 in 2012.