Kim Alvis, RN, COHN | CTEH | Senior Medical Specialist
Day at Work… I help oversee our Worker Exposure Emergency Response Program, a 24/7/365 hotline designed to provide employers or employees with the health information they need to address potential chemical exposures. I also manage our medical screening and surveillance programs as well as our drug and alcohol testing program. Off-site, my responsibilities are constantly changing. One day, I may perform hexavalent chromium or hazardous material examinations. Another, I may provide hepatitis A and B or tetanus vaccinations to individuals impacted by an emergency response.
Career Evolution… While serving as a paralegal for a criminal defense attorney, I felt called to help the public in a new way. So, at the age of 30 years old, I enrolled in the UA Little Rock nursing program. I spent five years as an outpatient surgery charge nurse for a local hospital. In 2003, I joined CTEH as an occupational health nurse, which allowed me to blend my expertise in the medical and legal fields.
Beginning Interests… After five years as an outpatient surgery charge nurse, I was ready to make a change. CTEH offered the perfect combination of law and nursing; I knew the emergency response and litigation work would suit me well.
LOVE the Work … CTEH encourages its employees to grow, both professionally and personally. It supported me in my journey to become a certified occupational health nurse and in my role as president of the Arkansas Chapter of Occupational Health Nurses. It also encouraged me to obtain my certification in occupational hearing conservation and become a director in that field.
Surprising but True… At CTEH, I’ve essentially been able to pursue two separate careers—one in emergency response and another in legal nurse consulting.
Advice… The possibilities are there. You simply have to do the research. If you feel called to do something new, consider occupational health or legal nurse consulting work. While at CTEH, I’ve been able to help workers on the front lines of disasters like floods, hurricanes and plant fires. I made this career change at 30 years old, and I’ve never looked back. It’s true what they say—it’s never too late to start new.
These wonder women are redefining what “full STEAM ahead” means in Arkansas. With exciting careers in science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics – each reflects WIT (Women in Tech) and true grit for making the most of every opportunity. Here’s to the powHER of knowledge.
Photography by Sarah Oden