AAOHN Research Priorities

With changes in work environments and related hazards, health care delivery mechanisms, technological modes of communication, and health promotion and protection needs, identification of relevant research is critical to continue to build the body of knowledge in occupational and environmental health nursing so practice may be improved.

During 2011, using a two-round Delphi survey technique, a sample of AAOHN members, selected these fourteen top occupational and environmental health nursing research priorities, from a list of 45, for their value to the profession and their impact on worker health.

Various AAOHN committees work to obtain funding for these types of projects, collaborate with other organizations that are doing research and provide input into the design and implementation of studies that can keep moving occupational and environmental health nursing forward. For example, multiple priorities were considered when applying for and receiving NIOSH funding to identify occupational and environmental health nurses’ (OHN) respiratory protection competencies, develop a template for respiratory personal protection (RPP) educational modules targeting OHNs, and establish a strategic planning process with a future goal to ensure the integration of RPP education in all levels of nursing education.

  1. Effectiveness of primary health care delivery at the worksite.
  2. Effectiveness of health promotion nursing intervention strategies.
  3. Strategies that minimize work-related adverse health outcomes (e.g., respiratory disease).
  4. Health effects resulting from chemical exposure in the workplace.
  5. Occupational hazards of health care workers (e.g., latex allergy, bloodborne pathogens).
  6. Factors that influence worker rehabilitation and return to work.
  7. Effectiveness of ergonomic strategies to reduce worker injury and illness.
  8. The nature and effects of stress and workplace stressors on worker health.
  9. Health effects resulting from the interaction between aging and workplace hazards.
  10. Evaluation of critical pathways to effectively improve worker health and safety and to enhance maximum recovery and safe return to work.
  11. Evaluation of intervention strategies to improve worker health and safety.
  12. Strategies for increasing compliance with or motivating workers to use personal protective equipment.
  13. Emergency/pandemic preparedness in the workplace.
  14. Impact of occupational health nursing interventions on worker’s compensation claims.