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Occupational Health Nurses

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

The American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN) recognizes three levels of competence in its nursing specialty. Competent occupational health nurses are comfortable in roles such as clinician, coordinator, and case manager following company procedures, and use an assessment checklist and clinical protocols to provide treatment. Proficient occupational health nurses have an increased ability to see client situations as a whole. Based on their increased experience, such nurses can quickly gather the information necessary to make an assessment and are flexible enough to change protocols when necessary. Expert occupational health nurses, in addition to all their other experience and skills, show leadership in developing health policy, serve in management or executive roles, are consultants to business and government, and design and conduct research. Like other nurses, nurses in occupational health have critical thinking skills to make their assessments of the client's health state, show compassion toward their clients, are able to keep track of multiple clients with different health needs, and show patience and emotional stability when dealing with difficult situations.

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