Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine the competencies of occupational health nurses who collaborate with public health services. Methods: Ten occupational health nurses who work for companies that collaborate with public health services were the subjects. They were the finalists selected from among those occupational health nurses who participated in a preparatory survey and phone interviews that inquired about their collaborative activity experiences with public health services; they were selected because of their greater experience with these collaborations. Semi-structured interviews using an interview guide were conducted, and a Qualitative Content Analysis approach developed by Mayring was used for data analysis. First, collected data were coded based on four aspects of collaborative activity: "Routine engagement"; "Execution of collaboration"; "Engagement for better understanding in the organization"; and "Perceptions, attitudes, and thoughts as foundations of collaboration." Then, categories and subcategories of responses were generated by similarity sorting. Results: Our findings clarified the following specific competencies required of occupational health nurses when collaborating with public health services: "Collection of public health information," "Construction of good relationships with public health personnel," "Extraction of problems within the family among employees," "Connection of employees and their family members with public health personnel," "Utilization of public health resources," and "Demonstration of the importance of collaboration with public health services." Furthermore, the following attitudes and thoughts were clarified: "Retention of supportive attitude and viewpoint toward the entire life of employees and their family factors," "Retention of attitude of promoting collaboration with public health services by occupational health nurses," and "Being aware of the importance of occupational health nurses." Conclusions: These findings suggest that occupational health nurses need to engage in collaborative activities with more holistic attitudes and thoughts to consider the whole lives of employees and their families. Thus, it is important to provide occupational health nurses with more opportunities to acquire these competencies. Subjects in this study were making efforts to collaborate with public health personnel to enrich their support services by exhibiting "Construction of good relationships with public health personnel" and "Utilization of public health resources," even in understaffed environments with only one occupational health nurse.
Objective: Japanese physicians employed and working in general hospitals have become busier since 2005, as they had to teach and guide the increased number of medical residents graduated from medical schools. Working hours and chronic fatigue of employed physicians were surveyed compared with independent physicians working in their own out-patient clinics and with usual employed men in Japan, and their mental health was assessed. Methods: (1) 75 employed physicians in hospitals were surveyed of their working hours a week and compared with (2) 48 independent general practitioners (GP) who work in their own out-patient clinics. (3) 47 employed physicians aged 40s and 50s out of (1) were compared with group (4) or 277 men of the same age employed in an automobile company. A symptom check list questionnaire, the Total Health Index (THI), was used to assess their stress and mental health status. The THI has 130 questions including physical symptoms, mental complaints, lifestyle and habits. 130 items have been grouped into 12 scales: vague complaints, respiratory symptoms, depression, and 9 other scales. Results: The average weekly working hours of employed physicians of (1) and GPs of (2) were 55.7 h and 51.3 h, respectively, and those who worked 60 h or more a week were 44.0% and 27.0%, respectively. They had significantly higher average scale scores than GPs with respect to vague complaints, irregular daily life, mental instability, depression, neurotics and psychosomatics scales. They also had significantly higher yes response rates for question items, "envy for richer friends", "feel my life is going badly", and other items than the GPs. 47 employed physicians of group (3) and 277 men workers of group (4) worked for 57.0 h and 46.0 h a week, respectively, in average, and 51.1% and 6.2% of group (3) and (4), respectively, worked for 60 h or more a week. The average scale scores of physicians of (3) were highly significantly poorer than group (4) in many scales of THI. Physicians employed also had significantly higher yes response rates for question items "feel too heavy work load", "stressed state", "irritated", "depressed", "lack of sleep", and "low back pain". Most of the physicians of group (3) were exhausted due to the hard work, showing a sharp contrast to group (4). Conclusions: Physicians employed in hospitals work for 57.0 h a week on average, although usual labors of the same age in a large farm work for 46.0 h a week. Physicians employed were exhausted or burnout and under poorer mental condition.