May 9, 2024

Lynn Robertson

I always knew that I would someday be in the healthcare industry.  It’s not as if I had parents or relatives working in healthcare but I just knew that’s where I belonged.  Nursing was the natural choice for me—I wanted to provide care and at the same time be able to use my critical thinking skills and creativity to, in some way, advance the profession.   

I loved my first dozen or so years in the “trenches”.  I worked in Pediatric Critical Care and Neonatal Critical Care in Edmonton.  That work taught me so much about the power of working together as part of a care team.  I learned that I am stronger and more resilient than I think or feel.  I also became acutely aware of how healthcare professionals sacrifice their well-being for their patients and how that ultimately comes back to haunt them, both physically and psychologically.  I felt there needed to be more for staff in terms of support and resources so that they can be their best selves for the sake of themselves and their patients.

My memory is a bit foggy, but it must have been after a particularly challenging shift that I decided I needed to make a change.  I didn’t know what that change was, so I looked up what nursing distance learning courses were available.  I found Grant MacEwan Community College (now MacEwan University) and read about their Occupational Health Nursing Certificate.  As I read about what occupational health nurses do, I felt something ignite in me.  That’s the change I was looking for.  The courses opened a new world for me.  The education showed me how hazards in workplaces can affect the health and safety of workers and how that, in turn, impacts how they work and how well they can care for others.  

Once my course work was completed, I was able to get a position in Workplace Health and Safety at Alberta Health Services.  Those days were never routine and being able to help safeguard the health and safety of workers has been and continues to be fulfilling.  I’ve been able to use both heart and mind in my work and that’s what I’m most proud of.  There are not a lot of us but we’re a feisty and tenacious group.  We fight for, advocate, and educate workers so that they can bring their best selves to the workplace.  I sure wish we had these supports when I was starting up but, in the end, I’m so very grateful for finding a spot where I can bring my best self. 

Occupational Health Nurses do a wide variety of duties, depending on the worksite where they’re employed.  There are some common activities including:

  • Assisting in the prevention, investigation, and treatment of work-related injuries and illnesses.
  • Providing expertise in identifying workplace hazards, conducting inspections, and recommending changes in procedures or policy that make the workplace safer.
  • Performing fitness to work assessment on new and current workers to ensure they are capable of doing the duties required by their roles.
  •  Providing a vital role in worker health promotion through the delivery of wellness initiatives.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Occupational Health Nursing, contact your local occupational health nursing association or nursing college.  You can also check out our website at: Alberta Occupational Health Nursing Association.

All the best!

Lynn Robertson

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Lynn has worked in the healthcare industry for over 30 years in a number of capacities and roles.  Graduating with her Nursing Diploma in 1988, Lynn began her nursing career in pediatric and neonatal critical care. Moving to occupational health nursing in the mid 1990’s, Lynn worked in the field for over 20 years.  It is during this time that Lynn developed her passion for worker health and safety and psychological well being.  A committed life long learner, Lynn has earned many credentials including a Masters in Nursing, a Certified Health Executive designation and is currently completing a Masters in Business Administration.  An avid runner, Lynn also loves spending her time with her husband Neil, riding her motorcycle and tending to her honeybees.

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Nursing The Future™ acknowledges that nurses across this country live, work and play on the lands of our Indigenous Ancestors and we join our members in expressing respectful gratitude for this privilege.
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