The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing's Occupational Environmental Health Nursing Program admitted its first students in the fall of 1986. The program was established because of the huge industrial base in the Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware region which spanned every category of business; agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining, construction, manufacturing, transport, communications, utilities, wholesale and retail trade, finance, insurance, real estate, services and public administration. A second reason was the lack of occupational and environmental health professionals contributing to an under-served population in the region's workforce. There has been an emergence of small businesses in the region, which generally have few health care services for employees and are in need of creative and practical means to satisfy the demands of employees and regulation. The University of Pennsylvania's Occupational Environmental Health (OEH) Nursing Program remains the only OEH nursing program in the region and has been called upon routinely by business to offer assistance. The most frequent request is for graduates to assume a role in providing or managing health care within an industry. Rather than decreasing over the last few years, these requests have become more numerous as employers have become aware of the talents of master's prepared OEH nurses, the nurse managed model and the burdens of escalating health care costs. The OEH nursing program has been structured over this grant period as a four semester, one and a half-year curriculum. Program options were either study leading to an Adult Nurse Practitioner or Administration/Consultation executive. The Administration/Consultation option addresses the health care needs of corporate America and the workforce offering management and financial course work, interdisciplinary work with Wharton management professionals and an MSN/MBA with The Wharton School of Business. Graduates from the OEH adult nurse practitioner option can sit for national certification as adult nurse practitioners. Likewise, graduates from the Administration/Consultation option can sit for national certification in administration. An additional option allows the OEH primary care student to take additional course work to become a family nurse practitioner assisting those graduates working in settings where family care is provided such as migrant and rural sites. Graduates from both options can sit for national OEH credentialing once practice requirements are met. The Occupational Environmental Health Program has graduated sixty four OEH nurses' with twenty-eight graduating within this grant period. Program recognition has flourished both regionally and nationally. Applicants to the program have resided in all parts of the country and in Canada, Europe, and the Far East.
School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6096