Occupational Health Nursing Pulse: The AAOHN Podcast provides a deep dive into the hot topics, new trends, best practices, and trending research in occupational health nursing. Featuring interviews with industry experts and current AAOHN members, each episode aims to address best practices in an easy, on-the-go format. The AAOHN Podcast Series will release on a bimonthly schedule. 

Subscribe to Occupational Health Nursing Pulse: The AAOHN Podcast on your preferred platform to stay up to date with each episode release. 

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Our Host

Jennylynn Balmer, MPA, BSN, RN, CSP, COHN-S, FAAOHN is a current AAOHN Board Director and an occupational health nurse with the Defense Health Agency in the Department of Defense. 


Episode 1: We're Talking About Certification with ABOHN 

Do you have questions about certification in occupational health nursing? We did too! The Occupational Health Nursing Pulse sits down with Lucy Carlson, Executive Director of ABOHN, to learn more about the certification programs offered, the COHN/COHN-S certification exam, and the value to professional development for becoming a certified OHN. Join us to learn more.

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Episode 2: The OHN's Role During COVID

OHNs have played a critical role in their organizations throughout the pandemic, and navigating this brought professional and personal challenges. Join Jennylynn’s conversation with Stephanie Weinsier, DNP, ANP-BC, COHN-S, FAAOHN to discuss her experiences leading a corporate wellness center and in caring for patients in the ER during the COVID pandemic. They’ll talk about vaccine hesitancy in the workplace and other roles that moved to the forefront in occupational health nursing like practicing across state lines to contact tracing to even processing nurse grief.  With crisis there are always steps to move forward with positive changes.  Stephanie touches on one positive, personal influence for change when she began a new nursing journey marrying her population health and medical knowledge. We hope you join the conversation.

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Episode 3: OHNs in the Military

Jennylynn sits down with Brenda Ruhrer, BSN, MPH, COHN-S to discuss her 32 year military nursing career serving in the National Guard. Brenda was Chief Occupational Health Nurse for the National Guard Bureau with oversight and coordination amongst the 54 occupational health nurses. While Brenda has served a dual role being a civilian OHN and serving in the Guard during her career, not every occupational health nurse serves in the military when they may work for a military facility or the department of defense. Some have access for direct care, while others like Brenda performed medical surveillance, safety hazards and industrial hygiene reports. Brenda worked the “flightline” at her facility where aircraft take off and land, with her office located in the hangar the helicopters were stored. She was the only OHN stationed at her facility in her state. She has had a lot of OSHA and DOD training for her role, as well as providing CPR and AED training for military personnel. No routine tasks with this type of nursing role and often a lot of fun, Brenda describes having to perform a noise survey while a helicopter took off as one of her favorite days. Weekend work was focused on medical readiness performing periodic health assessments. Brenda also discusses a deployment overseas as a nurse educator for Afghanistan military medics and a deployment here domestically with COVID-19 in a variety of occupational health/public health roles.

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Episode 4: Dive In: The Occupational Health LPN Community

The on-site clinic model of occupational health nursing offers nurses more direct care of patient employees. Specific to the various industry settings, many opportunities exist for an LPN in occupational health nursing. Jennylynn Balmer talks with Candace Wilmouth, RN at Wayne-Sanderson Farms, previously Wayne Farms. Candace has worked as an LPN in the poultry manufacturing industry with a scope of practice from clinical care of lacerations or repetitive motion injuries, health promotion, injury, and illness prevention, return to work protocols, employee pre-employment drug screens and post-offer assessments. As an on-site clinic nurse, day-to-day care varies and is most beneficial to her, the setting allows for use of more critical thinking skills or even the development of new processes. Being on-site as the nurse responsible for over 700 employees, her skill set and experiences constantly expand. Providing a safe environment and the trust she builds with employees is one of the most rewarding aspects of her job. She is always on the lookout to update the best practices within her industry setting and credits the great support of her employer.

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Episode 5: A Closer Look into OSHA's Office of Occupational Medicine and Nursing

We sit down with OHN, Melanie Hayes, DNP, APRN, FNP-C, to discuss her current role at OSHA and past roles with the Department of Navy. Melanie first gained experience with occupational health in her nursing role at the Department of Navy. From this experience, she prioritized advancing her education in occupational health nursing and was fortunate to have found a grant specific to occupational health nursing at an ERC DNP program to accomplish this goal. She started at the OOMN as a Graduate Nurse Intern after pitching her DNP project on Hearing Protection Device fit testing implementation into an OHN clinic and later filled a nursing vacancy within the department. The nursing staff at the OOMN works on issues such as the bloodborne pathogen standard, respiratory protection standard, workplace violence issues, and currently the preparation for regulatory heat standard rules. In addition, as the first Advanced Practice Nurse in the office of OOMN, Melanie also works on the more complex cases such as the enforcement consultation cases for medical issues and gives us insight into the work of the organization.

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Episode 6: Cannabinoids, Opiates, and Fentanyl - Oh My!

What's New in Workplace Drug Testing? In this new episode, Jennylynn welcomes Dr. David Kuntz, PhD, F-ABFT, Executive Director of Analytical Toxicology at the Clinical Reference Laboratory. Spend some time with AAOHN to learn history on laboratory drug testing and the methods involved with workplace drug testing. While each state has different rules for drug testing, overall the testing is standardized to involve a two-step process: screening and lab confirmation. We’ll also hear about new designer drugs and the process to develop the tests to measure their presence.

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Episode 7: Workplace Violence: Active Shooter Situations

In workplace settings, active shooter incidents are unpredictable and not entirely preventable, but there are steps to take to increase awareness and develop action plans. In the latest episode of the AAOHN podcast, host Jennylynn Balmer, MPA, BSN, RN, CSP, COHN-S, FAAOHN sits down with Georgia Reiner, MS, CPHRM, a risk anaylist with Aon/Affinity in their Healthcare division.

In her role with Nurses Service Organization, Georgia educates nursing professionals on risk safety in their practices. Tune in for tips as a nursing professional on how to detect signs of threatening behaviors and steps to act quickly to protect themselves and others.

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Episode 8: A Smartphone App to Reduce Burnout in the Emergency Department

In workplace settings, active shooter incidents are unpredictable and not entirely preventable, but there are steps to take to increase awareness and develop action plans. In the latest episode of the AAOHN podcast, host Jennylynn Balmer, MPA, BSN, RN, CSP, COHN-S, FAAOHN sits down with Georgia Reiner, MS, CPHRM, a risk anaylist with Aon/Affinity in their Healthcare division.

In this episode, Dr. Nicholas Monfries, MD joins us to discuss the Workplace Health & Safety Journal article on his pilot study on nurse burnout. Burnout affects both the individual’s personal and professional life and deals with issues like emotional exhaustion, decreased productivity, and personalization. The economic impact of burnout to an organization can be significant. One interesting note from Dr. Monfries is that the interventions can be used as more generalized training for resiliency, mindfulness and meditation for other types of issues. As Dr. Monfries explains, there is wide application for occupational health clinics to adapt the study to their own worksite. Workplace interventions are feasible and potentially effective at reducing burnout amongst healthcare professionals.

To read more information on Dr. Monfries study, please look for the article in the March 2023 Workplace Health & Safety Journal.

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Episode 9: LIVE from the AAOHN National Conference

Coming to you LIVE from the AAOHN Exhibit hall, Occupational Health Nursing Pulse sits downs with two first time attendees; Donette Price, MBA, BSN, RN, CCM from Renaissance Lakewood LLC. and Caitlin Lang, MA from the National Safety Council to chat about their conference experience.

One of our guests provides a glimpse of the session she will present on OHNs navigating a new normal in future workplaces, and the other, who is new to her occupational health nursing role, shares how she is experiencing that new normal. They reflect on the spirit of collaboration and community between OHN members and AAOHN partner organizations that they feel at the conference. Hear their experiences and takeaways from the first day in San Antonio. Jennylynn shares hosting responsibilities with Stephanie Weinsier who will officially takeover the Occupational Health Nursing Pulse podcast later this year.

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Episode 10: NPs Looking at the Whole Patient: An AAOHN & NAON Discussion

In the latest episode of the Occupational Health Nursing Pulse, we are so excited to chat with another nursing organization, the National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses (NAON). Our hosts Jennylynn Balmer and Bryan Combs converse with two Nurse Practitioner educators, Kathleen Geier and A.J. Bennett from Jackson Orthopaedic Foundation. They focus on advanced practice nursing in the primary care setting for all musculoskeletal conditions. Through this conversation, we discover we have so much to learn from one another, including staying committed to the nursing role looking at the whole patient to improve care. Tune in for a new perspective.

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