The first ever National Occupational Health Nursing Week is scheduled for April 19-25.
"Our goal in establishing an official week for occupational and environmental health nurses (OHNs) is to help employees, employers and the general public understand the roles and responsibilities of OHNs in furthering the health and safety of the millions of people in our nation's workforce," said AAOHN President Susan A. Randolph.
The April dates commemorate the inception of the first professional association for occupational and environmental health nurses on April 19, 1942, when 300 nurses from 16 states founded the American Association of Industrial Nurses (AAIN), the predecessor to AAOHN.
"Although most of us understand the function of a nurse in a clinical setting, not everyone is aware that there are also nurses who work in business environments," Randolph said. "Through case management, counseling, health promotion and wellness activities, legal and regulatory compliance, and workplace hazard detection, OHNs improve the health of employees to contribute to a healthy bottom line for business."
To promote participation in National Occupational Health Nursing Week activities, AAOHN is holding a contest for its members to submit an essay describing some of the creative ways in which they are working to keep their employee clients healthy and safe. For information on the contest and the other promotional materials available for National OHN Week, visit the AAOHN Web site at www.aaohn.org.
As for plans for an independent conference in 2005, Randolph noted, "We're very excited about the new symposium, and committed to providing quality education for our diverse membership through an independent conference."
She noted that associations such as AAOHN must be flexible to meet members' needs. "We recognized that the business climate has changed dramatically over the past few decades, and an independent conference would best position AAOHN to address these changes," Randolph noted.
AAOHN's decision to host an independent conference came after a lengthy process involving meetings between AAOHN and the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM), with whom AAOHN hosts the annual American Occupational Health Conference. In making its decision, AAOHN analyzed data from a number of sources, including past and current meeting attendance, membership demographics, feedback from membership surveys and AOHC evaluations, financial information and occupational health trends data.
"We are very proud of our long-standing relationship with ACOEM," Randolph said. "We will continue to pursue a variety of opportunities to collaborate with the physicians and all of our colleagues in the occupational health and safety arena with various public policy initiatives, educational and training endeavors and other means."