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OSHA Graduate Nurse Internship Program

Program Outline

The following information explains the goals and objectives, eligibility requirements, selection process and performance criteria for the OSHA Graduate Nurse Internship Program.


The OSHA Graduate Nurse Internship Program is a designed experience for registered professional nurses pursuing a graduate degree in occupational health nursing or public health with an occupational health focus. The internship facilitates a professional relationship between the graduate nurse student and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The intern will be provided research opportunities and educational experiences in worker safety and health. The internship integrates occupational health theory with professional practice.

Program Objective

To develop a cadre of occupational health nurses with experience in occupational health and safety policy and regulatory affairs at the national level. This group is prepared to enter the occupational health community as worker advocates with direct, hands-on knowledge of OSHA‘s mission.

Internship Learning Objectives

At the completion of the internship the intern should be able to:

  • Identify the major components of OSHA’s organizational structure and function.
  • Describe the role of the occupational health nurse and other health and safety professionals in carrying out OSHA’s mission.
  • Analyze a specific occupational health or safety issue and develop a related project of use to the agency.
Internship Activities

During the Internship, the graduate nurse student will participate in learning experiences such as:

  • Receive a general orientation to OSHA, including an overview of the various Directorates and their missions.
  • Research a topic of interest to OSHA and create a product for the public or OSHA field staff. Prepare a presentation for OSHA staff describing the product and, if appropriate, offering ideas for further agency action.
  • Observe compliance activities through worksite visits with an experienced OSHA compliance safety and health officer (an inspector).
  • Participate in current regulatory process activities relating to occupational safety and health.
  • Attend congressional and/or public hearings related to current agency activities.
  • Participate in informational visits to external stakeholder groups, e.g., American Nurses Association; National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to participate in the OSHA Graduate Nurse Internship Program, individuals must be enrolled in a graduate program affiliated with an accredited university.

  • Eligible Student. An eligible graduate student is any registered professional nurse pursuing an advanced degree in occupational health nursing or public health with an occupational health focus at an accredited university.
  • Eligible University. An eligible university is any accredited university providing graduate education in occupational health nursing or public health with an occupational health focus.

A graduate student meeting the eligibility criteria described above may apply for consideration for an intern appointment.

  • Required Application Documents are: a resume; a faculty letter of support; a personal narrative describing the expertise and experience the candidate brings to the internship relative to OSHA activities and a technical writing sample.
  • Submit Applications to:
    • Sheila Arbury, Health Scientist
    • Office of Occupational Medicine and Nursing
    • U.S. Department of Labor – OSHA
    • Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management
    • Room 3653
    • 200 Constitution Ave., NW
    • Washington, DC 20210
  • Applications will be submitted to the Director of OOHN for consideration.

Selection is solely based on the qualifications of the applicant without regard to race, color, ethnic or national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, lawful political affiliation, marital status, age or disability.

  • OOHN, using criterion-referenced assessment measures, will evaluate each candidate. The domains to be evaluated include academic performance, professional presentation, qualifications and experience, and demonstrated technical writing skills. In addition, candidates may be asked to participate in a telephone interview.
  • The Director of Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management will make the final determination of the number of interns to be selected for intern positions. The number will be based upon available funding and the current needs of the agency.
  • OOHN will notify each candidate and their faculty advisor of the candidate’s selection or non-selection as soon as possible.
  • Selected candidates must accept or decline the intern appointment in writing within 30 days of the selection notification.
  • An offer of an internship does not constitute an offer by the Department of Labor (DOL) or its subsidiaries for a permanent position within the Federal service.
Performance Criteria

Ethical and professional behavior is expected throughout the internship. The intern must abide by all the rules and regulations that have been established for the United States Department of Labor (DOL) employees.

The graduate nurse intern is expected to complete specific program objectives, produce a product by the end of the internship, and assist in the evaluation of the program. This requires the intern to:

  • Complete DOL online training requirements, e.g., computer security awareness training, document encryption, workplace violence and harassment prevention, ethical behavior.
  • Complete a statement of personal and professional objectives for the internship.
  • Complete a selected project(s) of significance to OSHA.
  • Participate in the evaluation of the internship. At a minimum, this will include a written mid-point, and final conference with the preceptor and internship coordinator.
  • The university will receive compensation for services rendered by the intern at a mutually negotiated rate. The final amount provided the intern is at the sole discretion of the university. Note that in light of the current budget situation in the Federal government, there is no guarantee that there will be money available to fund interns. If funding is not available at the determined amount, a reduced funding level may be possible.
  • Funds received by the university are intended to defray the intern’s expenses while serving as an OSHA intern.
  • Interns are not Federal employees and the internship does not count toward Federal service.
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