Linda Carlson RN, MPH, COHN-S, an occupational health nurse at Ridgeview Business Health in Chanhassen, a department of Ridgeview Medical Center, talks about her job. She discusses why she became a nurse, what a typical workday is like, and how her role fits into the bigger healthcare picture.
Q: What's a typical workday like for you?
In general, an occupation health nurse oversees and implements programs and practices that benefit the health, wellness and safety of employees, and improves the bottom line of organizations that contract with us, including manufacturing facilities, police and fire departments. In the clinic, I do pre-hire health assessments for worker safety. At work sites, I focus on employee safety, awareness and education. I provide first aid and health and wellness training; ensure that employees are able to work safely with the restrictions imposed by workers' compensation; do CPR and blood-borne pathogen training; and monitor respirator and hearing programs to comply with OSHA regulations.
Q: How does your role fit into the bigger healthcare picture?
Teamed with an occupational health physician, we use nursing skills to focus on how an individual employee's work environment affects his or her health and safety.
Q: Who do you interact with during the course of the day?
I work with current or future employees in industry, hospital or community services, human resources and safety representatives of the organizations that contract with Ridgeview.
Q: Why did you become an occupational health nurse?
I love working with people and previously worked as a hospital nurse. In this position, I can apply my clinical assessment skills, improve worker health and safety and their ability to react to emergencies in the workplace.
Q: What do you like about your work?
I'm a clinician at heart. I work independently in different settings, but I still have a great resource of the team here at the clinic. That's what's really fun about it. I also like the hours; it's day-shift only, no weekends or holidays.