Occupational nurses work to promote wellness in workplaces by focusing on the prevention of illness and injury. They run health programs, create workplace safety guidelines, and direct care for sick or injured employees in the workplace. Occupational nurses also work as liaisons between doctors and companies.
In a corporate setting, occupational nurses run health fairs and company counseling and substance-abuse awareness programs. In workplaces where there are environmental or occupational hazards, such as factories and laboratories, they evaluate potential health hazards such as unstable surfaces, unsafe equipment or objects that could trip employees. After evaluating the workplace, occupational nurses make recommendations to the company's management regarding ways to make the workplace safer for employees.
Occupational nurses find jobs in various industries, including manufacturing, construction, mining and meatpacking. Others may work as researchers for universities and government agencies. An entry level occupational nursing job requires a minimum of a bachelor's degree in nursing. Those with advanced degrees typically work in management, where responsibilities include helping legal services and human resources write company guidelines for programs and regulatory compliance. All nurses must be licensed by the state to practice, and some employers may require certification through the American Board of Occupational Health Nurses.