OHA’s can help managers manage absences due to sickness better. Nurses can assist in helping instruct supervisors and line managers in the best ways to utilize OHA’s OH service, including the best way to refer employees to occupational health, what kind of details will be needed, what they can be expecting from an Occupational Health and Safety doctor.
Through the development of transparent referral procedures, making sure that confidentiality in medical care is protected and rights of the worker are respected, the OHA can make sure that workers who are referred to examination for illness are at ease with the process.
OH nurses, because of their close relationships with employees and their knowledge of the work environment , and trends in ill health in the workplace are typically in a position to offer advice to management regarding how to prevent sick leave.
According to my experience, referrals to general practitioners has only limited application for issues related to work and the best results are achieved by informing the GP in mind, as well as making referrals to an occupational doctor.
The rehabilitation strategy that is planned will aid in ensuring a the safety of returning workers who are absent from work because of injuries or illness. The nurse is usually the primary person involved of the rehabilitation program who together alongside the manager and employee, conduct the risk assessment, develop the rehabilitation plan, monitor progress and keep in touch with the person and the OH doctor and line manager. Nurses are also involved in the development of proactive rehabilitation strategies designed to identify early signs of changes in health before these circumstances lead to working absence. Enhancing and maintaining working capacity is beneficial to many groups, including the person, the company and societyas the cost of absences and health care expenses are reduced.
In many instances, the OH nurse must work within the organisation as a client advocate, to ensure that the managers are aware of the importance of improving the health of the employees. OH nurses possess the expertise needed to carry out this task and can create areas of particular importance.
A nurse in occupational medicine can create proactive strategies to help workers to maintain or improve their work capability. Workers who are new, older workers, women who return to work after having a baby or who were without work for a long period of time can be benefited from medical advice or a program of exercises for strengthening the work force to aid in maintaining or restoring their abilities to work, even before any health concerns arise.
The increasing challenges faced by the industry have a psychosocial component and they can be more complicated and expensive to address. OH nurses working at the corporate level are in a great position to advise management on strategies that could be implemented to improve the psychosocial wellbeing and well-being of workers.
The OHA may have a part in the development of strategies for health and safety. When large or high-risk, companies have in-house health and safety professionals the OHA will work in conjunction with these experts to ensure that nurses’ know-how in health, risk assessment and health surveillance, as well as environmental health management are integrated in the overall health and safety plan.
The occupational health nurses are educated in the law of health and safety as well as risk management and prevention of health hazards in the workplace and therefore can make an important part of the control of safety and health workplaces, with a special focus on the risk assessment of health.
Nurses are often in regular contact with the employees who are aware of any changes in the workplace. Due to the nurse’s knowledge of the effects of work on health , they are in a position to assist in hazard detection. Risks can arise from changes in working procedures or processes or could result from unintentional changes to methods and work procedures that nurses can quickly identify and evaluate the potential risk posed by.
This type of activity requires regular and frequent work visits by occupational health nurses to keep up to current understanding and knowledge of work processes and procedures.
Lawmaking in Europe is becoming increasingly guided by a risk-management approach. OHA’s are educated to assess risk and use risk-management strategies depending on their expertise and the degree of complexity involved in risk assessment, nurses may conduct risk assessments or assist in the risk assessment in conjunction with other experts.
Involved in risk assessment and identification of hazards an occupational nurse is able to within the confines of their training and education give advice and provide information regarding appropriate control strategies, such as health surveillance and monitoring, risk communication and evaluation of methods of control.
Specialist OHA’s make use of studies from diverse spectrum of disciplines, including the fields of psychology, toxicology, nursing environmental health, and public health within their everyday work.
The most important requirements for occupational health nurses practicing is to have the ability to critically evaluate and read research findings from the various disciplines and to incorporate these findings into an practices that are based on evidence practice. Nursing research is established, as is the modest but increasing amount of evidence being generated by occupational health nurse researchers who examine the practices of occupational health nurses.
OHA’s need to make sure they have access to and have the knowledge required to be able to practice their profession based on the highest quality evidence.
At the level of the company, occupational health nurses could be involved in the production of reports for management, such as sick absence trends, accident figures, assessments of health promotion needs , and when assessing the effectiveness of the delivery of services, and the efficacy in occupational health programs.
Skills in research and the ability of transferring information and data from published research into the practice of nursing is a crucial part of the job.
OHA’s, as well as other health, environmental and safety specialists on the health team for workplaces are in a unique place in the society. They are able to access the medical and personal information related to employees of the organization that would not be available to anyone else in the group. Society has placed, through laws, additional obligations for medical professionals to safeguard and protect the interests of patients.
The ethical standards applicable to every discipline are established and enforced by all of the professional organizations. Any violation of these codes of ethics can cause the professional to be removed from the register and unable from practicing. Nurses are well-known and respected for their long tradition of defending the trust given to them by their patients. This trust level in occupational health nurses’ professional integrity is a sign that staff feel they are able to be honest, open and transparent and open with the nurse with assurance that the information won’t be used for any other purpose.
This allows nurses to perform her duties more effectively than it would be without that trust present. Protection of personal data allows a trusting relationship between the employee and the nurse to be established and helps to create optimum collaboration and working relationships. In the meantime, the International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH) has released a useful guidelines on the ethics of workers in the field of occupational health. The guidance can be found below “Occupational Health Practice must be performed according to the highest professional standards and ethical principles. Occupational health professionals must serve the health and social wellbeing of the workers, individually and collectively.
They also contribute to environmental and community health the obligations of occupational health professionals include protecting the life and the health of the worker, respecting human dignity and promoting the highest ethical principles in occupational health policies and programs.
Integrity in professional conduct, impartiality and the protection of confidentiality of health data and the privacy of workers are part of these obligations. Occupational health professionals are experts who must enjoy full professional independence in the execution of their functions. They must acquire and maintain the competence necessary for their duties and require conditions which allow them to carry out their tasks according to good practice and professional ethics.”