Year : 2013  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1-

Occupational health nursing-growing influence at workplace in India

Xivananda Priolcar 
 Department of Medicare, General Manager Health Management, Siemens Ltd, Kalwa Works, Thane, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Xivananda Priolcar
Siemens Ltd, Department of Medicare, Kalwa Works, Thane Belapur Road, Thane - 400 601, Maharashtra

How to cite this article:
Priolcar X. Occupational health nursing-growing influence at workplace in India.Indian J Occup Environ Med 2013;17:1-1

How to cite this URL:
Priolcar X. Occupational health nursing-growing influence at workplace in India. Indian J Occup Environ Med [serial online] 2013 [cited 2022 Dec 3 ];17:1-1
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Full Text

Occupational Health Nursing, which has been an alien concept not a long while ago, is fast growing its influence at workplaces in India thanks to the economic liberalization and increasing presence of multinational companies which bring in their corporate guidelines as well as thinking that investing in human asset would give them competitive advantage.

Most of the nurses doing the role of Occupational Health Nurse are trained in General Nursing or in Pharmacy and have been placed in that role by sheer chance just like how Occupational Health Physicians had emerged in India in the past. Nowadays, various training courses and options are available for Occupational Health Physicians but few to none for Occupational Health Nurses.

The traditional Caregiver role of Nurse included those activities that assists the client physically and psychologically while preserving the client's dignity. In a workplace setting, it includes triage and transportation of the victim to the nearest advanced care facility after providing on-site first-aid.

Now with increasing realization among enterprises that they can gain competitive advantage by (i) protecting human health against health and safety hazards occurring in the work environment (ii) promoting human health, workplaces for all ages and healthy aging by appropriate work culture, work organization and support to social cohesion (iii) promoting mental health, healthy lifestyle, and preventing major non-communicable diseases using specific workplace health policies and management tools (iv) maintaining work ability thus also supporting employability throughout working life (v) reducing health care costs caused by employees' and employers' injuries, diseases, illnesses, and premature retirement resulting from or influenced by occupational, environmental, life style and social health determinants (vi) using resources effectively and efficiently and protecting the natural environment and creating health supportive environment.

This has compelled the workplace medical units to change their working and work priorities to support the business. Naturally the nurses at workplaces have to change their roles accordingly to effectively support the Occupational Health Physician. Now, Occupational Health Nurses have moved into disease management, safety audits and environmental protection and hearing conservation initiatives besides being first-aid trainers. They are now not only the care givers, but get increasingly involved in referral, follow-up, return to work assessments and rehabilitation.

Given the changing role and increasing influence at workplace, the Occupational Health Nurses are also required to change their competencies. They have to assume the role of a social counselor, change agent, leader, administrator, health educator, and a case manager. This would involve developing competencies like reading ECG with increasing cardiac morbidity seen at the workplace. Occupational Health Nurse needs to read and interpret medical investigations report given that Occupational Health Physician may not be able to give adequate time to the employee since Occupational Health Physicians are more expected to design and develop Occupational Health Strategy for the organization. An Occupational Health Nurse is expected to support workplace improvement initiatives, Wellness campaigns, Ergonomic assessments, bio-medical waste management, OSHAS certification etc.

In summary, Occupational health nurses can make a major contribution to the sustainable development, improved competitiveness, job safety and increased profitability in enterprises and communities by addressing those factors which are related to the health of the working population. By helping to reduce ill health, Occupational Health nurses can contribute to the increased profitability and performance of organizations and reduce health care costs.