Certified in occupational health nursing
Why did you become certified 30 years ago?
When I first heard about certification, I was into my fourth year working as an occupational health nurse in the 1980s at a northern mine site. I was very passionate about workplace health and safety. I met with a group occupational health nurses in Saskatoon to discuss the certification process. As it turned out, I was the only one from the Saskatchewan group that wrote the examination in Calgary that year. To me, it was a very important and logical step in continuing my career.
Why have you maintained your certification?
Certification demonstrates ongoing learning and skill. When I worked in the health-care system, I mentored many young nurses in my occupational health specialty. I was also able to coach other professionals on health and safety in the workplace, such as physiotherapists and occupational therapists.
As manager of occupational health and safety in the ’90s in the Saskatoon Health Region, our department produced a comprehensive occupational health and safety manual. I was most proud when many other Saskatchewan health regions asked us to use it. Many of them often contacted me on matters related to occupational health and safety and they always valued and appreciated my expertise.
When I was approached to be the manager for health and wellness at the University of Saskatchewan, it provided me with another opportunity to provide leadership. Based on my experience, we initiated a successful plan to integrate work with human resource professionals, where employee success was a leading principle. I believe my ongoing lifelong learning, as required by CNA certification, gave me the additional skills and knowledge required to feel confident in initiating new programs and processes.
How has certification helped you in your career?
I believe certification is an important credential that shows expertise and a commitment to ongoing learning in my specialty. Certification also provides a higher level of confidence and this is critically important because occupational health nurses often work in non-traditional roles. My certification definitely contributed to obtaining positions I coveted. I’ve also had many other opportunities: serving on provincial occupational health and safety councils and regulatory review committees, co-authoring research articles, mentoring nurses preparing for their master’s degree, ad hoc consulting with other employers, and participating in research for the Conference Board of Canada.
Do you have any messages you would like to share with nurses about the importance of continuous learning and certification?
Change is constant and career-long learning is important to stay current and relevant. We need to understand new and emerging practices that benefit our fields of expertise. CNA certification is a natural fit to make this happen.
What makes you most proud about being certified?
I am most proud of a long career that has given me so many opportunities to make great contributions to support organizations, employees, colleagues, researchers and government agencies.
Certification always demonstrated my strong ongoing commitment to improving workplace health and safety.