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Certified Occupational Health Nursing

The nursing world is filled with different specialties and areas of focused care. For many people, being a general registered nurse does not offer the kind of detailed care that they are looking to be a part of. Some people like to work on one area of health care day after day to hone their skills and become an expert in the field that interests them the most. One of these specialized areas of care is a certified occupational health nurse.

A certified occupational health nurse is a registered nurse that works to minimize and eliminate risks that are a part of different professions. Certified occupational health nurses receive focused training on how to limit the hazardous or negative effects on health from different working conditions. To be a competent occupational health nurse, these professionals must understand the different hazards that come from each different occupation. The nurses work at observing professionals in different professions to see them and their working environment to see what potential hazards they encounter and safety controls that are already in place to see if anything can be done to improve the safety of their work station.

The education requirements for a certified occupational nurse vary between states and different health care agencies. At the minimum a certified occupation health nurse is a registered nurse who receives on the job training for their position. A registered nurse’s education requires a bachelor of science degree in nursing and to pass the state’s certification exam. Others are certified nurse practitioners who have completed graduate school beyond the initial bachelor’s degree. The graduate courses could be for the completion of a master’s degree or for a doctorate degree. A new rule in health care education requirements will soon mandate that all advanced trained nurses, like a nurse practitioner, have a doctorate degree in order to practice beginning in 2015.

Whatever the level of education completed, all occupational health nurses must be certified in order to practice as a nurse. They must acquire the certification of the American Board of Occupational Health as a nurse specialist. This entails a three hours test with 150 questions. There are also different levels of occupational nursing work experience required to achieve that goal. Like all other areas in the health care field, certified occupational health nurses have a good job outlook as steady growth is expected to occur in that job field.