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Masters in Nursing Occupational Health

This degree provides training for a career preventing work related illnesses and injuries. The career track may lead to jobs in industry, government agencies, health care agencies, consulting firms, and insurance companies. Working in occupational health is often a job that requires extensive educational activity along with some administrative efforts to institute safety or health related changes. In many cases a health professional working in an industrial setting may take on the role of advocate for operational changes while functioning as an onsite clinician at the same time. Occupational safety is one area where health concerns and more particularly, safety concerns are written into law. There is a federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration and most states have a similar organization that conducts periodic inspections on work sites of all types.

A Masters in Nursing Occupational & Environmental Health graduate wouldn't be involved in the inspection and enforcement functions, but may provide a liaison between occupational safety specialists and company management. There are many other career opportunities for this specialization including working with job related injuries as a case manager or an insurance administrator or program management with a government agency charged with site inspection. Occupational and environmental health may also involve education programs for workers and for mid-level managers about health issues related to basic work environment conditions such as ventilation, toxins, protective clothing, lighting, flooring, and other elements that can lead to health or injury problems.

Some of the curriculum components for this degree are shared with public health nursing. Classes in qualitative research methods for public health, toxic chemicals in the environment, program planning, and budgetary issues associated with health and safety management all cross into public and community health and all are common to occupational and environmental health as well. Some schools of nursing offer an administrative track for this degree and another that results in a specialization for nurse practitioner. But this degree is a good option for a RN who is interested in a health and safety career that incorporates medical training and environmental health for defined populations.

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