Jun 6, 2022
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.