Occupational health nurse
Health & Care
An occupational health nurse is a qualified nurse who works in the community, promoting the health and well-being of the workforce and protecting them from harm. Do you want to use your nursing skills to champion good health?
An occupational health nurse promotes good health and tries to protect workers from harm. They often work in the Human Resources Department of companies. They work the same hours that other employees work.
Often, occupational health nurses build up expertise in one type of industry. Duties may vary from company to company but as an occupational health nurse, you may expect:
- To have an open door policy where any employee can speak to you on any matter to do with work or home life
- To promote healthy living
- To advise on the Health and Safety policies of the company
- To offer First Aid
- To provide health screening
- To advise management of breaches in safety procedures
- To accept referrals, often from Human Resource Managers, for example regarding staff who have been off work for some time
- To make referrals to other professionals, such as counsellors
- To liaise with other staff.
Personal Qualities and Skills
Key skills for occupational health nurses
- Good communication skills
- Interest in helping people
- Ability to communicate with both employees and management
- Willingness to be proactive
- Good IT skills
Pay And Opportunities
Typical employers of occupational health nurses
The Health and Safety Executive is the government body which promotes safety and the limitation of risk to health in the workplace. Some places of work are potentially more dangerous than others and medical surveillance must take place. Highly-pressurised jobs may cause a risk to mental health.
Occupational health nurses can work in any company but they are more likely to work in:
- Large companies
- Companies which have a reputation for valuing their workers
- Companies where the work is known to carry risks eg dusty environments
- Call centres providing services to employees
In the longer term, you can specialise in one area of Occupational Health. You can work in other areas of Specialist Health Nursing, such as School Nursing or Health Visiting. You can enter management, Public Health education or research.
Qualifications and training provided
An occupational health nurse must be a qualified nurse, on the register of the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
In addition to the your nursing qualification as a registered Adult, Child, Mental Health or Mental Disabilities nurse, you usually need a postgraduate qualification In Specialist Health Nursing – Occupational Health Nursing.