The purpose of the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses may be best described by its mission statement:
“The mission of the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses, Inc. (AAOHN) is to advance the profession of occupational and environmental health nursing. AAOHN’s mission is fulfilled through: promoting professional excellence and opportunities through education and research, establishing professional standards of practice and a code of ethics, influencing legislative, regulatory and policy issues, promoting internal and external communications, and establishing strategic alliances and partnerships”.
The mission statement of an organization goes a long way to describing the core characteristics of the organization. Form this mission statement we can conclude:
- The American Association of Occupational Health Nurses is an organization that is dedicated to ensuring that the profession is moved forward in any way possible. Any professional organization should have this as one of its primary objectives, otherwise what is the point? If the profession itself is advanced this means that your career will become more meaningful and valuable in the healthcare industry as a whole.
- Education and research is provided as a means of ensuring that each individual member of the organization is able to function at the highest level possible. This in turn improves the quality and standard of care that these individuals offer in an occupational health setting, improving the image of the industry and ensuring that everyone involved is protected.
The American Association of Occupational Health Nurses offers 15 professional development scholarships. These opportunities from the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses are funded by several organizations:
- Five $1,500 scholarships are funded by the ALCOA Foundation
- Three $1,000 scholarships are funded by Bristol Myers Squibb for pre- and post-AOHC CE offerings
- Two $1,500 scholarships are funded by Edwards Medical Supply
- One $1,500 scholarship is funded by the Liberty Leadership Fund
- One $1,000 scholarship is funded by North Carolina Leaders
- One $1,500 scholarship is funded by OMI
- Two $1,000 scholarships are funded by the Texas State Association of Health Nurses
In order to qualify for these scholarships you must:
- Be employed
- Be pursuing a degree in the field of Occupational and Environmental Health Nursing
The scholarships are worth $1000 each, are valid for one ear, and must be applied for before the 6th of January each year. The contact information that you need in order to apply for these scholarships is:
2920 Brandywine Rd. * Suite 100 – Atlanta (30341)
According to the American Association for Occupational Health Nurses, there are a number of specific careers open to you if you choose to enter this profession. You could fill one of the following positions:
- A consultant for businesses in terms of health and safety measures
- You could be a case manager for individuals who have suffered and accident or illness at work
- You could become a director of wellness services
- You could enter the educational side of health and safety in the workplace to increase the chances of people not injuring themselves at work
As a consultant with a specialization in occupational health nursing you will be able to provide companies with a great deal of information regarding a number of topics, not least of which is whether or not the working environment that they provide for their employees is suitable and meets the necessary requirements. The guidelines that you follow in this regard are cast in stone and are very strict in order to ensure the maximum level of employee safety. The American Association of Occupational Health Nurses seems to think that this is one of the most common job roles for a nurse with this qualification to fill in his or her career. In order to fulfill this role adequately you will need to have a certain amount of business acumen in addition to the nursing skills that you have spent years developing, meaning that the job is not necessarily suited to all nurses from all walks of life.
You also have the option of being a case manager at a particular work site. What this means is that you will be more or less permanently based at one company where you will provide medical care to workers when needed. In addition you will provide practical information and support for any workers who are sick or injured while at work. For example you may provide information regarding workmen’s compensation packages and ensure that the company’s disability benefits are paid in full to the correct individuals at the correct points in time.
In some cases you may be hired to offer wellness services programs at a particular company. What this essentially entails is an educational program aimed at ensuring that the various employers at that company are aware of how to lead active and healthy lives. You may discourage smoking and point out the dangers, or encourage exercise. Information about basic work related health care problems and how they originate as well as what to do about them may also form part of such a program, but the main aim is preventative as this is the best method for decreasing the numbers of ill and injured individuals in a workplace.
Becoming An Occupational Health Nurse
There are a number of steps involved in becoming an occupational health nurse:
- Firstly you need to complete nursing school. For this to happen there may be a number of general education courses that you must take as prerequisites in order to be admitted to a nursing program.
- Once you have completed your educational program you will then need to contact your state board of nursing about licensure. Becoming licensed will involve writing a national licensure examination.
- After receiving your license you will need to engage in post-graduate studies with a major in occupational health. This is because there is a great deal of specialist knowledge required in order to be successful in a job such as this one.
- Lastly you will need to become certified in occupational health nursing from a certifying agency such as the American Board for Occupational Health Nurses.
The four above steps may seem easy enough in principle, but you must keep in mind that a great deal of hard work and studying is required in order to achieve these ends and become a member of the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses.
Facts About Occupational Health Nursing
There are a number of considerations to keep in mind when making the decision about whether or not you would like to be an occupational health nurse:
Education: The first consideration is your educational level. Generally speaking you will need at least a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s degree or doctorate degree in more desirable.
Job Description: Occupational Health Nurses are individuals who are trained to assess the working environments of many different companies and ensure that the health and safety standards are being met. In addition they are generally the first individuals to respond when a medical emergency arises in a working environment. Consequently their job may entail many of the basic nursing skills that other nurses in other environments need to have in addition to which they are required to have knowledge about industrial policies and procedures.
Employment: Clearly the primary location to find employment as an occupational health nurse is in industry, but this is not the only place you can find work in this position. You also have the option of working in the education, commercial and health-care sectors.
Patients: The main patients with whom you will work as an occupational health nurse are workers. Your primary responsibilities will be to provide on-scene care for these workers, transport them to a medical care facility if it is required, and perform follow-up consultations to determine whether or not the worker is recovering on schedule.
History: According to the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses, the profession was established in Pennsylvania when a nurse started providing her services to coal miners. The field grew exponentially during the industrial revolution and World War I.
Membership with and organization such as this one benefit you in a number of ways, not least of which is the fact that your resume will be greatly improved. Membership gives the impression that you are dedicated to the profession and that you are willing to go the extras mile to ensure that all is well within the profession. Practically there are also a number of excellent resources and employment opportunities that become available to individuals who choose to pursue membership with an association such as this one, making it an educationally and professionally sensible decision.
If you would like to find out more about this association, please take the time to note the contact information listed below:
American Association of Occupational Health Nurses
7794 Grow Drive
Pensacola FL 32514
Toll-free Phone: 800-241-8014