Occupational health nurse

Occupational health nurses are leaders of public health and care in the workplace. They specialise in the care and well-being of people at work.

Occupational health nurses are qualified and registered nurses or midwives, many of whom have chosen to gain additional training and qualifications as specialist community public health nurses (SCPHN - OHN). Their additional training in public health enables them to assess the health needs of individuals, families and the wider community to promote good health and prevent illness. 

Working life 

Occupational health nurses protect and promote the health of people at work. They have direct contact with employees and are often approached with health-related questions and problems. Employees often see their occupational health nurse as a 'first port of call' and seek advice on various matters, such as:

two nurses talking

Your role will include:

You may also carry out certain clinical tasks such as statutory medical examinations, vaccinations such as flu jabs, and taking blood samples.

You will work closely with employees' line managers, human resource staff, and health and safety advisers to support good health at work. You may lead or work in a team alongside other occupational health professionals, such as doctors, physiotherapists, counsellors, psychologists, and liaison psychiatrists.

Where will I work? 

You’ll usually be employed as an independent practitioner in an organisation or as part of an occupational health service team in an organisation's human resources department.

You could work in a variety of industries including health, commerce and education. You could be employed by a large organisation or company such as an NHS trust, local authority or major retail chain.

Entry requirements 

You will need to be a registered adult, child, learning disability or mental health nurse to apply for occupational health nursing posts. You may also choose to take an approved programme in Specialist Community Public Health Nursing - Occupational Health Nursing (SCPHN - OHN). The requirements for entry to SCPHN - OHN programmes are very flexible and no minimum period of post-registration work experience is required. The SCPHN qualification can also be used for the health visiting or school nursing pathways.

Applying for a job within a large occupational health service should help you gain adequate supervision and support. This is especially important for a first job in an occupational health.

Some jobs will also ask for a additional knowledge or experience, which may include:

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