All-Hazard Preparedness Added to List of Occupational Nurses' Priorities

The American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN) added all-hazard preparedness to its 2003 public policy platform, reflecting the importance of occupational nurses' roles in the changing workplace and national landscape resulting from 9/11.

"With today's new spotlight on homeland security, the workplace, through its existing health care delivery systems, is poised to serve an expanded role to impact the health and safety of our nation's workforce," said AAOHN President Deborah V. DiBenedetto. "Occupational health nurses possess the skills, knowledge and experience to help companies prepare for a host of new workplace threats, whether physical, chemical, biological or radiological, and provide the coordinated care, services and information necessary to ensure appropriate responses to these new issues."

To underscore the importance of these issues, AAOHN also released a new position statement titled, "The Occupational Health Nurse's Role in All-Hazard Preparedness." The document details the necessity of a leadership role for occupational health nurses before, during and after a workplace/community emergency. The new position paper, as well as the platform statement on this issue, stem from the association's vision that "work and community environments will be healthy and safe."

In addition to all-hazard preparedness, other key policy issues on the 2003 platform include support for the privacy of health information, backing of the interstate nursing compact and a rally for safer work environments to help curb the nursing shortage.

Both the AAOHN 2003 Public Policy Platform and "The Occupational Health Nurse's Role in All-Hazard Preparedness" are available online via www.aaohn.org, or by calling (800) 241-8014, ext. 0.

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