Occupational Health Nurse Jobs

“Occupational health” nurses play a vital role in protecting the health and safety of workers in various industries. They assess workplace hazards, provide health education and counseling, and administer immunizations and first aid. If you’re a registered nurse with a passion for preventive care and worker well-being, then an occupational health nurse job might be a perfect fit for you.

Here are some of the benefits of being an occupational health nurse:

  • Make a difference in people’s lives: By helping to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses, you can have a positive impact on the lives of workers and their families.
  • Use your nursing skills in a different setting: Occupational health nursing offers a unique opportunity to use your nursing skills in a non-traditional setting.
  • Enjoy a variety of job opportunities: Occupational health nurses can work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, manufacturing plants, construction sites, and government agencies.
  • Have a good work-life balance: Occupational health nurses typically work regular hours, Monday through Friday.

If you’re interested in becoming an occupational health nurse, you’ll need to have a current RN license and be CPR certified. You may also want to consider getting a Certified Occupational Health Nurse (COHN) certification.

Here are some resources to help you get started in your occupational health nursing career:

  • The American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN):
  •  The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM): 
  • The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH):

 What is the role of a nurse in occupational health?

Nurses in occupational health, often called occupational health nurses (OHNs), play a crucial role in protecting and promoting the health and safety of workers across various industries. Their work encompasses a diverse range of responsibilities, all aiming to create healthier and safer work environments. Here’s a breakdown of their key roles:


  • Workplace hazard assessment: Identifying and evaluating potential hazards in the work environment, such as chemical exposure, ergonomic risks, and noise levels.
  • Health education and training: Providing workers with information and training on how to stay safe and healthy at work, including topics like proper lifting techniques, personal protective equipment (PPE) use, and bloodborne pathogen awareness.
  • Immunizations and vaccinations: Administering necessary immunizations and vaccinations to protect workers from occupational illnesses.
  • Health surveillance: Monitoring the health of workers over time to identify early signs of work-related illness or injury.

Direct care:

  • Treating minor work-related injuries and illnesses: Providing first aid and basic medical care for cuts, burns, sprains, and other common workplace injuries.
  • Counseling and support: Offering confidential counseling and support to workers on various issues, including work-related stress, fatigue, substance abuse, and mental health concerns.
  • Return-to-work programs: Developing and implementing programs to help injured or ill workers safely return to work.

Collaboration and advocacy:

  • Collaboration with employers: Working with employers to develop and implement effective safety and health programs, and ensuring compliance with occupational health and safety regulations.
  • Advocacy for worker health: Promoting worker safety and health rights, and advocating for safer working conditions.
  • Data analysis and research: Contributing to research on occupational health issues and implementing evidence-based practices to improve worker health outcomes.

Overall, occupational health nurses act as valuable frontline defenders for worker well-being. Their diverse skillset allows them to prevent illness and injury, provide direct care, collaborate with employers, and advocate for safer working conditions, ultimately contributing to a healthier and more productive workforce.

If you’re interested in learning more about specific aspects of an occupational health nurse’s role, feel free to ask!

What kind of nurses make the most money?

When it comes to earning potential, there are several factors that influence a nurse’s salary, including:

Specialization: Certain nursing specialties consistently demand higher salaries due to advanced education, skills, and responsibilities. Here are some of the highest-paid nursing specialties:

  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA): $203,090/year on average, often reaching much higher. They administer anesthesia to patients under a physician’s supervision.
  • Nurse Practitioner (NP): $118,000/year on average, with variations depending on their specific area of practice (e.g., Neonatal NP, General NP). NPs provide primary care and diagnose/treat various conditions.
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS): $114,000/year on average. CNSs are expert nurses in specific areas who provide advanced clinical practice, education, and consultation.
  • Nurse Midwife: $120,000/year on average. They provide care to women throughout pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum stages.

Location: Geographic location significantly impacts salaries. States with higher costs of living often offer higher nursing wages. For example, California, Illinois, and Massachusetts tend to have higher average salaries for nurses compared to states like Mississippi, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.

Experience: The more experience a nurse has, the higher their earning potential generally becomes. Nurses with additional certifications or leadership roles may also command higher salaries.

Employment setting: Salaries can vary based on the work environment. For instance, nurses working in travel assignments or specific specialties like informatics or legal settings may have higher earning potential compared to traditional hospital settings.

It’s important to remember that these are just some general trends, and individual salaries can vary within each specialty and based on the specific factors mentioned above. If you’re interested in pursuing a specific nursing career path, researching the earning potential alongside the job duties and required qualifications can help you make an informed decision.

What is the hardest nursing specialty?

Determining the “hardest” nursing specialty is subjective and depends on individual preferences and strengths. However, some specialties consistently face challenges that can make them demanding, both physically and emotionally. Here are some factors to consider:

Work environment:

  • High-pressure situations: Specialties like ICU, ER, and OR involve critically ill patients, rapid decision-making, and unpredictable situations.
  • Potential for violence: Psychiatric nurses and correctional nurses may face verbal or physical aggression from patients.
  • Long hours and physically demanding work: Some specialties like home health care or hospice require long shifts and physically demanding tasks like lifting patients.

Emotional toll:

  • Dealing with death and dying: Oncology, palliative care, and NICU nurses witness and provide care for patients facing serious illness or death, which can be emotionally draining.
  • Working with trauma: Trauma nurses and burn unit nurses encounter patients with severe injuries and emotional distress.
  • Managing complex mental health conditions: Psychiatric nurses require emotional intelligence and resilience to support patients with diverse mental health challenges.

Knowledge and skill requirements:

  • Advanced knowledge and technical skills: Specialties like CRNA, CNS, and NP require extensive education and mastery of specific procedures and technologies.
  • Constant learning and adaptation: Fields like informatics and research nursing demand staying abreast of evolving technologies and methodologies.

Additional factors:

  • Work-life balance: Some specialties like travel nursing or per diem positions offer flexibility but may lack stability and benefits.
  • Career advancement opportunities: Specialties with high demand may offer better career advancement opportunities.

Ultimately, the “hardest” specialty depends on your individual strengths, values, and tolerance for specific challenges. Consider what aspects of nursing you find most rewarding and which challenges you are prepared to face when making your decision. Researching specific specialties and talking to nurses in different fields can provide valuable insights.

Where can I study occupational health nursing in South Africa?

Occupational health nursing is a specialized field within nursing that focuses on promoting and protecting the health and safety of workers in various industries. If you’re interested in studying occupational health nursing in South Africa, here are some institutions that offer relevant programs:


  • University of Cape Town: Master of Science in Occupational Health (MOScOH) 
  • University of Cape Town, South Africa
  • Nelson Mandela University: Bachelor of Science in Occupational Health (BScOH)
  • Nelson Mandela University, South Africa
  • Durban University of Technology: BTech: Nursing Occupational Health ( )
  • Durban University of Technology, South Africa
  • University of the Witwatersrand: Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Occupational Health Nursing ( )
  • University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
  • Stellenbosch University: Postgraduate Diploma in Occupational Health Nursing (PGDOH) ( )
  • Stellenbosch University, South Africa

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges:

  • Many TVET colleges offer National Certificates in Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), which can be a stepping stone to further studies in occupational health nursing.

Other institutions:

  • The South African Society of Occupational Health Nursing Practitioners (SASOHN) offers various short courses and workshops related to occupational health nursing. ( )
  • South African Society of Occupational Health Nursing Practitioners (SASOHN) logo

Considerations when choosing a program:

  • Your qualifications: Some programs require a bachelor’s degree in nursing, while others may accept students with a diploma or certificate.
  • Your career goals: Consider what area of occupational health nursing you’re interested in and choose a program that aligns with your goals.
  • Location and program format: Programs are offered in various locations throughout South Africa and can be full-time, part-time, or online.
  • Accreditation: Ensure the program is accredited by the South African Nursing Council (SANC).

Additional resources:

  • South African Nursing Council (SANC):
  • Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET)
  • I hope this information helps you find the right program to study occupational health nursing in South Africa!

Which type of nursing is best?

Unfortunately, there’s no single “best” type of nursing as it depends entirely on your individual preferences, strengths, and career goals. What excites one nurse might not resonate with another. Here’s how to find the best fit for you:

Consider your personality and interests:

  • Do you thrive in fast-paced, critical situations? Specialties like ER, OR, or trauma nursing might be ideal.
  • Do you enjoy providing emotional support and building relationships? Consider mental health, oncology, or palliative care nursing.
  • Are you drawn to research and innovation? Informatics or research nursing could be a good fit.
  • Do you like variety and flexibility? Travel nursing or per diem roles offer diverse experiences.

Think about your preferred work environment:

  • Do you prefer predictable schedules and routines? School nursing or outpatient clinics might suit you.
  • Are you comfortable with physical demands and lifting patients? Home health or hospice care may involve more physical activity.
  • Do you enjoy working independently or as part of a team? Different specialties offer varying degrees of collaboration and autonomy.

Explore the required skills and knowledge:

  • Are you comfortable with advanced technology and complex procedures? Specialties like CRNA or CNS require extensive technical expertise.
  • Do you have strong communication and interpersonal skills? All nursing specialties require these, but some (e.g., mental health) emphasize them more.
  • Are you a lifelong learner willing to keep your knowledge updated? The healthcare field constantly evolves, requiring continuous learning.

Research salary and career opportunities:

  • Are you motivated by high earning potential? Some specialties like CRNA or NP command higher salaries.
  • Do you prioritize work-life balance and flexibility? Travel nursing or per diem roles offer flexibility, while others may have structured schedules.
  • Do you desire opportunities for advancement and leadership? Specialties with high demand may offer better career progression.

Talk to nurses in different fields:

  • Seek firsthand insights from professionals in various specialties to understand their daily work and challenges.
  • Join online communities or professional organizations to connect with nurses and explore different paths.

Remember, the “best” type of nursing is ultimately the one that aligns with your unique personality, goals, and values. Take your time researching, exploring, and talking to experienced nurses to make an informed decision that sets you on a fulfilling career path.

Which country pays nurses most?

While salary isn’t everything, it’s certainly a significant factor when considering a career path. When it comes to which country pays nurses the most, here are the top contenders, with some important caveats to keep in mind:

Top Earners:

  • Switzerland: Currently in the lead, with an average annual salary of $94,869 USD for registered nurses. However, the high cost of living in Switzerland also needs to be factored in.
  • Luxembourg: Coming in close behind with $97,857 USD. Again, remember the cost of living is high.
  • United States: Still a strong contender globally, with an average salary of $82,750 USD. Salaries vary widely depending on location, experience, and specialty.
  • Denmark: Offering an average of $89,419 USD, Denmark boasts strong social benefits and work-life balance.
  • United Arab Emirates: A popular destination for internationally-recognized nurses, with an average of $86,759 USD. Tax-free income is a major perk, but consider cultural and lifestyle factors.

Things to Remember:

  • Cost of Living: High salaries often come with high living costs. Researching cost of living adjustments is crucial for a true picture of purchasing power.
  • Taxes: Tax rates can significantly impact your take-home pay. Compare tax structures in different countries before making a decision.
  • Career Advancement: Consider career progression opportunities and potential salary growth beyond the average starting salary.
  • Other Factors: Work-life balance, benefits packages, job satisfaction, and personal preferences are also important aspects to consider.

Additional Resources:

  • Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Health Workforce Database: [invalid URL removed]
  • International Council of Nurses (ICN) Nursing Salary Survey: [invalid URL removed]

Remember, choosing a country based solely on salary might not be the best approach. Carefully research and consider all factors before making a decision that aligns with your individual needs and goals.

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