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How do I Get Certified as a Hospital Employee Health Nurse?

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Hospital employee health nurses are employed as occupational health nurses at hospitals and help prevent job-related injuries and illnesses, while assisting with implementation of health and safety standards. They also help in diagnosing staff worker's compensation issues, and provide in-house health and safety training. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, all nurses must graduate from an approved nurse training program and pass a licensing exam with the National Council Licensure Examination. Other requirements are set by each State's regulations.

Get a bachelor's of science degree in nursing (BSN). Although this is not the only path to getting certified as a nurse, a BSN provides more training in communication, leadership and critical thinking, all skills that are critical for hospital employee health nurses. You should also consider enrolling in a Master's of Science in Nursing (MSN) program. Harvard University and Simmons College offer an Occupational Health Nurse Practitioner program, which can lead to a Master's of Science degree in Occupational Health. The University of San Francisco also offers an Occupational/Environmental Health Nursing Master's of Science.

Get a registered nurse (RN) license. Each state has its own rules for licensing nurses. However, all require applicants to take the National Council Licensure Examination. Pass the exam and apply for a license to the State where you plan to work.

Get experience. This is not mandatory, but it is important to earn experience in the health-care industry before providing health and safety advice to the staff of a hospital. Specific experience implementing Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) measures and preventing health-care related injuries and illnesses is a bonus.

Get certified. The only certifying body for occupational health nurses in the U.S. is the American Board for Occupational Health Nurses. This organization provides four certification credentials: Certified Occupational Health Nurse (COHN), Certified Occupational Health Nurse Specialist (COHN-S), Case Management (CM), and Safety Management (SM). Any of these certificates will qualify a registered nurse to work as a certified hospital employee health nurse. Certification in Occupational Health is optional, it is not a licensing requirement. However, employers will often demand a certificate for proof of professional knowledge and expertise. Certification requires passing an exam and being in active status as a nurse to receive the credentials.


Andrew Latham is a seasoned copywriter for both print and online publishers. He has a Bachelor of Science, majoring in English, a diploma in linguistics and a special interest in finance, science, languages and travel. He is the owner of, a company based in Charlottesville, Virginia, which provides writing, interpreting and translating services for English and Spanish audiences.