Occupational & Environmental Health Nursing
The Occupational Environmental Health Nursing (OEHN) training program at the University of Kentucky’s (UK) Central Appalachian Region Educational and Research Center (CARERC) initially aimed to educate PhD-prepared nurses to conduct interdisciplinary occupational and environmental health (OEH) research to inform and influence nursing practice, research, and education in the rural and Appalachian regions.
The objectives of the program were as follows: equip nurses to lead occupational research, educational initiatives, and practice specifically focused on central Appalachia's industries, culture, and environment; increase the capacity of schools of nursing in the region to incorporate OEH into their curricula; and to enhance opportunities for outreach and education of OEHN through continuing education.
The program utilized and expanded on pertinent components of the three existing research foci in the College of Nursing (CON) PhD program and endeavored to establish occupational health and injury prevention as a fourth area. The OEHN focus is highly significant because it addresses an underserved area of Central Appalachia. Its efforts are directed to meet the needs of priority work sectors that include agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and healthcare. The OEHN program was funded beginning in July 2013 as an academic training core program within CARERC.
The overall goal of the CARERC PhD/DNP OEHN training program is to equip doctoral-prepared nurses to conduct interdisciplinary occupational and environmental focused research or evidence-based programs in rural and Appalachian areas that will inform and influence nursing practice and policy development, research, and education in the rural and Appalachian regions.
Advance the state of the science and improve the state of health by preparing nurses to lead occupational and environmental and translational research, educational initiatives, practice, including planning, implementing and evaluating evidence-based projects and policies specifically focused on central Appalachia’s industries, culture, and environment.
Promote collaborative and interdisciplinary training through integration of the OEHN program with others on campus (e.g., UK CARES) by matching PhD nursing students with current research projects and other funded projects in Appalachia as well as connecting DNP nursing students with ongoing community engagement program planning and evaluation to prevent injury and disease.
Increase the capacity of schools of nursing in the central Appalachian region to incorporate occupational/environmental health in their curricula.
Enhance opportunities for outreach and education of occupational/environmental health nursing through continuing education.