Michelle and I had the great pleasure recently to speak to a diverse group of occupational health nurses at their provincial conference, the AOHNA Learning Day and Symposium. The occupational health nurse (OHN) plays a critical role keeping your workforce healthy, engaged and productive. We discovered that we have a lot in common with our roles!
When we partner with a workplace to build supports for improving working relationships, we take a very holistic view. The door may open through a training request, but often problems run deeper and sustainable solutions are more achievable with a rich understanding of workplace culture and norms. We must partner with leaders at all levels of the organization to understand the underlying issues and build a workable solution for ongoing support.
It is similar when it comes to health. A patient may present with a sore back, but be hiding other concerns which can compromise successful treatment. The OHN partners with many stakeholders to get buy in for plans to meet the complex needs of their individual clients, and the needs of the organization.
Perhaps your high performing employee with a back injury is dealing with other health concerns such as diabetes, or a recent divorce with the accompanying personal financial stress. In many situations, individuals also experience decreasing self confidence and depression. You need him at work. He wants to be at work. But he needs support.
Your OHN is your bridge between the client, doctor, insurer, and employee assistance plan services. Sometimes mediation (yes, medication too, but I say mediation) can help. Often, working relationships and trust suffer when an individual is fighting with the inevitable stress that comes with such an array of complications. A third-party, impartial and independent support to facilitate improved working relationships and help to build understanding can have a big impact.
It takes a team to keep a workforce healthy, engaged, and productive. We are thrilled to learn more about the role of the occupational health nurse – their role is critical. They have an unmatched set of diverse skills and a necessarily holistic view of the world. They have the medical skills to anticipate and address workplace health and safety issues; the people skills to listen and build bridges for unique and complex problems; and the business experience to contribute meaningfully to critical strategic discussions.
What supports do you offer employees? Do you have the skill set you need to keep your workforce at work, healthy, engaged and productive? Have a good look.