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29.1 Occupational Health

Occupational and environmental health nursing focuses on providing preventive health care, health promotion, and health restoration in a safe and healthy work environment. OHNs require specialized competencies depending on the industry; however, the scope of practice has common overarching concepts of community health, law, economy, politics, policy, and regulatory issues. OSHA creates and enforces workplace safety standards to ensure safe and healthy conditions for workers. NIOSH is the research agency tasked with studying worker safety and health. NIOSH provides evidence for many of the standards that OSHA enforces. OHNs’ roles include clinician, educator, case manager, corporate director, consultant, and researcher with diverse work settings including hospitals, academia, government, military, and industrial factories.

29.2 School Health

School nursing protects and promotes student health by facilitating optimal development and academic success. School nurses are health care and education leaders who advocate for student-centered care, coordinate care, and collaborate with school administrators, staff, teachers, families, and the interprofessional health care team. They are change agents, improving the health of children, families, and communities. Roles include clinical care provider, health educator, and advocate. Two established frameworks, the Framework for 21st Century School Nursing Practice and the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Model, guide school nursing practice. Common health concerns the school nurse encounters are asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, food allergies and anaphylaxis, obesity, oral health issues, behavioral problems, learning difficulties, teen pregnancy, STIs, and substance misuse.

29.3 Correctional Nursing

Correctional nursing provides care to clients in the criminal justice system, jails, prisons, juvenile detention centers, and substance-misuse treatment centers. Correctional nurses must defer to correctional officers and safety protocols. They use a broad range of nursing skills to care for individuals across the justice system, including incarceration, probation, parole, treatment programs, individuals housed in immigration and customs facilities, and those transitioning between settings. They perform many roles in various settings, such as restricted housing, primary care clinics, urgent care clinics, inpatient infirmaries, community-based facilities, and palliative and hospice care settings. Correctional nurses provide care related to substance misuse, sexual abuse, long-term health conditions, infectious diseases, reproductive care, mental health, and transitional services such as medication management, health promotion screening, and teaching.

29.4 Public Health Nursing and Public Health Departments

Public health nursing promotes and protects a population’s health by synthesizing knowledge from nursing, social, and public health sciences and applying it for social betterment. The government sector of public health includes public health agencies at the federal and state levels, including the District of Columbia, with almost 3,000 local governments and over 500 federally recognized tribal agencies. SHDs’ responsibilities include policy development, resource stewardship, legal compliance, partner engagement, continuous improvement, and oversight. SHDs provide population-based public health services focusing on primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention. LHDs’ roles and scope of authority are contingent on state policy and their governing relationship with the state. LHDs coordinate public health activities in their jurisdiction and follow the SHDs’ rules and regulations.


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