The current status of occupational health nursing was discussed. Compared to the nineteenth century where occupational health nursing was concerned primarily with maternal and child health and communicable diseases, the occupational health nurse of today is said to focus on health education, disease prevention, health maintenance, early detection of disease, medical monitoring and surveillance, research, and epidemiology. It is noted that there is a continued need for guarding licensure, promoting professionalism, and developing standards of practice within the occupational health nursing profession. Occupational health nursing services are usually provided by single or multiple nurse units. The types of service provided are determined by variables such as population, age, sex, nature of the products manufactured, and management philosophy. It is noted that the occupational environment itself encourages the development of new conceptual frameworks in nursing. Future trends in occupational health nursing were discussed. It is expected that traditional nursing will persist at least for the near future, but continued specialization will occur. The educational requirements of occupational health nurses working in heavy industry are different from those of their counterparts working in banks, department stores, and other light industries. Active participation by nurses in managing their practices are expected to develop as nursing specialities become more sophisticated.
Proceedings of the National Occupational Health Nursing Symposium: State of the Art and Directions for the Future, Cincinnati, Ohio, June 1-3, 1983