In the spotlight: Occupational Health Nursing
Occupational health is rarely sought out by nurses as a field to go into, with many occupational health advisors and nurses seeming to ‘fall into’ the specialism inadvertently. It's hard to understand why this could be, given its many benefits and diverse nature.
We think occupational health nursing is a specialism worth exploring. It offers interesting and varied work and a completely different experience to working in a traditional acute hospital setting. There is also a plethora of shifts available across the country, with an increase in demand from employers across the country.
Occupational health nurses specialise in caring for the health and wellbeing of people at work. They also work with employers to develop safe working policies and procedures. More than 130 million days are lost to sickness absence every year in Great Britain and working-age ill health costs the national economy £100 billion a year. Employers face a yearly bill of around £9 billion for sick pay and associated costs, with individuals missing out on £4 billion a year in lost earnings.
An increasing number of employers - including airlines, retail chains and financial institutions - are realising that a healthy and well-motivated workforce will have a positive impact on the productivity and effectiveness of their business. Those who prioritise workplace health are less likely to suffer staff sickness and absence and can also reap the benefits of having a reputation as a ‘great place to work’.
As an occupational health nurse, you could be based in large organisation or with a private consultancy firm used by some smaller employers to give specialist, one-off advice.
Your duties could include:
- Carrying out pre-employment medicals
- Assessing and treating employees who are injured or become ill at work
- Providing counselling and support to workers
- Giving health education and advice
- Advising on health and safety issues
- Giving sickness absence advice
- Carrying out risk assessments
- Maintaining and analysing employee health records and statistics
- Developing and managing emergency procedures
- You might also take blood samples for testing and carry out vaccinations
- Working shifts - weekends, evenings and nights
You will usually need between one and two years' professional experience as a qualified nurse before you can apply for work or occupational health training for nurses.
The following attributes will also help:
- Good communication skills
- The ability to relate to people from a variety of backgrounds
- Assertiveness to make sure instructions on health and safety issues are carried out
- The ability to promote health and wellbeing
- Good powers of observation, with the ability to deal with health and safety risks as they arise
- The ability to remain calm and think clearly in an emergency
- Awareness of issues surrounding confidentiality and data protection
- The confidence to use your initiative and make decisions
- The ability to work in a team
- Good organisational and time management skills
Pulse Nursing has occupational health nursing jobs across the country. If you are interested in working with Pulse please complete this registration form or take a look at the current roles we have to offer.