Occupational Health Nurses (OHNs) are involved in ensuring workplace safety in different work environments, as the key primary care providers in such environments. In a bid to contextualize the roles of OHNs in the workplace, a car manufacturing company is selected as the community setting for this task. In the selected company, there are many machines involved in the assembling of cars from different parts, thus workers are likely to encounter some health hazards.
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The roles of OHNs in this setting include developing safety programs and protocols that should be observed within the plant and creating awareness among employees to ensure compliance with the set safety standards. This paper discusses occupational health nursing to explore some of the roles involved in the profession and the associated professional organizations.
In a car manufacturing plant (the selected community setting), there are many machines involved in the assemblage of car parts. These machines have to be operated by workers, thus exposing them to health hazards including lacerations and poisoning from chemicals. Therefore, employees are the most vulnerable population, especially those not in administrative positions. During car spraying and finishing, chemicals are used and if not handled with care they might lead to poisoning. Therefore, care should be taken in such workplaces.
One of the health services provided by OHNs in such settings is developing and implementing innovative safety programs. Employees need to be trained on how to ensure safety in the workplace by following laid down protocols. OHNs are charged with such duties together with working in collaboration with other players to ensure compliance. Second, OHNs offer clinical care to injured or affected workers. For example, persons suffering from cuts during their work need immediate care attention before being referred to care facilities in case the harm is serious. Third, OHNs manage work-related stress by counseling employees and guiding them to recovery to be in a position to function normally. According to La Torre et al. (2018), job-related stress is one of the leading causes of poor quality life among workers across all industries. This assertion necessitates the need for OHNs in the workplace.
Health Promotion Nursing Intervention
The first health promotion intervention that a CHN could implement in a car manufacturing plant is developing safety protocols that should be observed when handling machines. This step will introduce a preventive approach to avoiding accidents and injuries in the workplace. The other intervention involves creating training manuals and conducting workshops to create awareness among workers. An informed workforce is likely to comply with safety guidelines when carrying out their duties. CHNs can also observe workers in the course of their duties to identify areas that could be improved as part of mitigating the occurrence of accidents. Finally, CNHs can conduct research involving employees and the management team to come up with a way of promoting a culture of safety within the company.
In organizations, management is involved in decision-making, and thus CHNs should collaborate with such teams for the successful implementation of safety programs. Sorensen et al. (2019) argue that the success or failure of any organizational change to ensure safety in the workplace depends mainly on the management. Leaders and managers decide which programs to approve and fund, which makes them the most important players that CHNs should collaborate with to create safe working spaces. Employees are also important because they are the ultimate implementers of any change process and thus they should be consulted too.
Professional Nursing Organization
Nurses in occupation health can join The American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN), which is a professional organization associated with this field of nursing specialization. According to AAOHN (2019), its mission is “to ensure that occupational and environmental health nurses are seen as the authority on health, safety, productivity and disability management for worker populations” (para. 1). The organization achieves this goal by providing diverse leadership and professional networking opportunities coupled with advocating for legislation, public policy, and regulations to promote occupational safety.
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It also promotes the profession through a “marketing and public relations campaign that emphasizes the value of occupational and environmental health nurses to employers, employees, government, alliance organizations, and other important groups” (AAOHN, 2019, para. 2). Overall, the organization creates opportunities for its members to advance their careers and ultimately contribute to the success of the profession.
Its membership is structured for groups, individuals, and students at $140 (for each member in a group of more than three individuals), $165, and $60 respectively. Retired members can also join at a subsidized cost of $120 while the international membership fee is $165 (AAOHN, 2019). Currently, the organization is advancing the Vision Zero campaign, which is a roadmap for reducing workplace fatalities, injuries, and illnesses to the minimum level possible.
A car manufacturing plant was chosen as the community setting to discuss the role of CHNs in ensuring occupational safety. Such work environments expose workers to the risk of getting injuries, hence the need for CHNs. The main roles include developing health safety programs and training workers on the same. In a bid to promote health intervention measures, CHNs can create awareness, conduct research, and identify areas of improvement as preventive approaches towards minimizing workplace accidents and injuries. Nurses in this specialization can join the AAOHN, which will support their career growth through various strategies. The majority of workplace accidents and injuries are man-made thus preventable and OHNs should work towards achieving the goals of Vision Zero.
AAOHN. (2019). About us: Vision and mission. Web.
La Torre, G., Sestili, C., Mannocci, A., Sinopoli, A., De Paolis, M., De Francesco, S., … De Giusti, M. (2018). Association between work related stress and health related quality of life: The impact of socio-demographic variables: A cross-sectional study in a region of Central Italy. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(1), 159-167. Web.
Sorensen, G., Peters, S., Nielsen, K., Nagler, E., Karapanos, M., Wallace, L., … Wagner, G. R. (2019). Improving working conditions to promote worker safety, health, and wellbeing for low-wage workers: The workplace organizational health study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(8), 1449-1458. Web.