AAOHN Study Reveals OHN Hiring Obstacles

Companies hesitate to hire occupational health nurses (OHN) on the belief that their budgets cannot afford the position, according to a new study released by the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN), which reveals common obstacles influencing the hiring of OHNs nationwide.

The study, which surveyed employers who currently do not have an OHN on staff, also revealed that companies find it essential to see a cost/benefit analysis and successful business case studies when considering hiring an OHN.

"This research provides our profession with a rare perspective on the obstacles that still face occupational and environmental health nurses today," said Susan Randolph, president of AAOHN. "By understanding what does and does not foster corporate leadership's understanding of the value of the OHN's contribution as a business partner, we can make strides toward cultivating, improving and advancing the profession of occupational and environmental health nursing."

Approximately 1,000 pre-qualified, non-OHN employers responded to a survey distributed in February 2006. More than 83 percent of respondents have never employed an OHN primarily based on the belief that their facility could not afford one. Nearly 70 percent of respondents require a true cost/benefit analysis to justify the hiring of an OHN, while 60 percent of companies similarly request case studies to prove the value of having an occupational health nurse on staff.

In addition, a lack of understanding about the role of an OHN in the business also has prevented many companies from considering the possibility of hiring one. According to the study, 46 percent of non-OHN employers stated that not comprehending their function within the company has prevented them from hiring an OHN. In addition, although 57 percent of the companies that participated in the study said they had a safety director, they reported that the safety director was not a key decision-maker in the hiring of an OHN.

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