Voluntary employees (N = 155) from nine different companies were screened by questionnaire for the study. They were randomized into three study groups: counseling (n = 52), counseling + fitness testing (n = 51) and control group (n = 52). The counseling was based on a goal-oriented conversation session for each participant and three follow-up appointments with an occupational nurse over a period of 1 year. The fitness tests were adapted from the UKK Health-related Fitness Test Battery. The outcome measures were the changes in the amount of leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) assessed by diary, pedometer and questionnaire at baseline and at 6 and 12 month follow-up visits. As a result, no statistically significant differences were detected between the three groups at either of the follow-up visits. It seemed, thus, that the two PA counseling methods implemented had no direct mid- or long-term effects on the LTPA of voluntary employees with no specific disease-related indication to increase LTPA.
This study describes the self-assessed activities, features, prerequisites, and consequences of occupational health nurses' expertise. The quantitative data were gathered from 468 Finnish occupational health nurses, of whom 373 (80%) returned the completed questionnaire. The data were analyzed by using one-way-anova, the Kruskal-Wallis or the chi(2)-tests. The activities of the occupational health nurses included working with employees, workplaces, and collaborative partners, administrative and office work, and other duties. The most important expert features were the holistic perspective and listening to clients. Continuing training and a positive attitude were the most necessary prerequisites for expertise. The main benefits of expertise, from the perspective of the occupational health nurses, were improved health and a decreased number of work-related health risks. Support by the work community and good educational possibilities were important for expert practice. Occupational health nurses need to develop their expertise continually because they play a key role in promoting workers' health.
The aims of this study were to describe Finnish occupational health nurses' functions, characteristics, prerequisites, consequences, changes, development areas and expertise from the point of view of clients.
The background literature of this study is based on public health nursing models, Finnish social and health report, arguments of special education for occupational health nurses, and earlier studies concerning occupational health nurses' work. The data were collected from volunteer clients (n=26) by interviews.
According to the qualitative content analysis, occupational health nurses' activities include health promotion and secondary health care among workers and at workplaces. The main work characteristics are holism, client-orientation, interaction and co-operation. Occupational health nurses need an extensive knowledge base and practical skills, client-orientation, courteous behaviour and a healthy and clean appearance. The outcomes of their work for clients are better health, healthier life habits and healthier working conditions. Nowadays, nurses are more client-orientated than 20 years ago. They are expected to develop their practical and interaction skills and expand their knowledge base. The expertise of occupational health nurses consists of an extensive knowledge base with practical skills, working experience and confidence, and it appeared when advising clients and answering their questions.
It is important to arrange continuing education for occupational health nurses to ensure that they are always up to date in order to be able to respond to specific clients' needs. This study provides a foundation for further investigations into, for example, occupational health nurses' work from the point of view of employers, students of occupational health nursing and other occupational health experts and co-operative partners.
The role of the occupational health nurse is broad and includes health care provider, manager/coordinator, educator/advisor, and case manager and consultant, depending on the type of industry and the country in which the nurse practices. Regardless of the type of role, the occupational health nurse must participate in continuing nursing education (CNE) activities. This study describes the roles, credentials, and number of CNE activities undertaken by occupational health nurses working in Ontario, Canada. Using a nonexperimental descriptive design, a questionnaire was mailed to all practicing occupational health nurses who are members (n=900) of a local nursing association. Three hundred fifty-four questionnaires were returned. Nurses reported a variety of roles in the following categories: case management, health promotion, policy development, infection control/travel health, ergonomics, education, research, health and safety, direct care, consultation, disaster preparedness, and industrial hygiene. Sixty-five percent of nurses held an occupational health nurse credential, and 19% of nurses attended more than 100 hours of CNE annually. Occupational health nurses have multiple workplace roles. Many attend CNE activities and they often prepare for credentialing.
Occupational health services in the Nordic countries--Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden--started as initiatives of single industrial enterprises. Coverage of employees by voluntary occupational health services ranges from an estimated 23% of employees in Denmark to 93% of employees in Finland. Contents of OHS in the Nordic countries correspond mainly with the ILO Convention (161/85) on OHS. The services are primarily directed to preventing work related problems and achieving a better working environment. Employers are responsible for the total costs of occupational health services in all Nordic countries, but each nation has state reimbursement plans to help cover the costs. However, additional advantages in the subsidy system are needed to stimulate even the smaller enterprises to join the occupational health system.