Objectives: The objective of this study was to summarize a combined competency domains and items set for occupational hygienists in Japan since there is a lack of such a set due to the existence of several national certification specialists in the field of occupational hygiene. Methods: A literature search, Kitagawa Jiro’s (KJ) method study, Delphi method study, and a questionnaire survey were utilized. The domains, roles, knowledge, and skills included in the home pages and reports of representative organizations in the USA, UK, and Japan, and those in papers found through Google Scholar were compared and rearranged to about 150 items. From these, occupational hygiene competency domains and items were discussed and selected by five occupational hygiene specialists using the KJ method and prioritized by 13 occupational hygiene specialists using the Delphi method. Additionally, responses of 53 union members of occupational hygiene specialists from a university were obtained by a questionnaire survey. Results: Ten occupational competency domains and 147 items were identified through the literature search, 10 domains and 135 items through the KJ method, six domains and 63 items through the Delphi method, and lastly, five domains and 51 items were identified through the questionnaire survey. The five domains included (1) discovering problems and potential developments and making decisions, (2) solving problems and promoting developmental occupational hygiene, (3) communicating with stakeholders and recovering in an emergency, (4) empowering organizations to which you belong, and (5) educating and facilitating workers. Conclusions: Although the 53 subjects in the questionnaire survey were predominantly 20 to 30 years old and more than half of the 13 Delphi method participants were relatively old veterans, there was a positive correlation between the evaluation of 63 items by both methods. These results suggest that the occupational hygiene competency set of five domains and 51 items obtained in this study is a combined competency set that is representative of Japan.
Objectives: Although self-rated health (SRH), the self-evaluation of one’s own health status, has been reported to be associated with the immune status, the relationship between three different SRH measures (global, self-comparative, and age-comparative) with inflammatory markers as well as the relative strength of these associations by age are not well understood. The current study investigated the associations between SRH measures and inflammatory markers among nursing home employees. Methods: A sample of 120 Japanese employees at a nursing home (90 women and 30 men), aged 21–68 years (mean, 40.9 years), underwent a blood test for the measurement of inflammatory markers (interferon-γ, interleukin [IL]-4, IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor [TNF]-α, white blood cell count) and SRH during the annual health checkup. Multiple regression analysis adjusted for covariates was performed to analyze the relationship between inflammatory markers and SRH measures stratified by age, that is, aged < 40 years (younger age group) and 40 years and over (older age group). Results: Among the participants aged 40 years and over, poor global SRH was significantly associated with an increase in IL-6, while poor age-comparative SRH was significantly associated with an increase in TNF-α among participants aged < 40 years in the fully adjusted model controlling for potential confounders. Age-comparative SRH was also significantly associated with an increase in IL-6 among all participants. Self-comparative SRH was not significantly associated with inflammatory markers. Conclusions: Our results suggest that three SRH measures are not equivalently associated with inflammatory markers, especially when the analyses were performed separately for the younger and older populations. This implies that not only differences in forms of SRH but also in age modify the relationship between SRH and inflammatory markers.
Objectives: The purpose of this study was to clarify the needs and issues of continuing employment and educational support for foreign care worker candidates (hereinafter referred to as candidates) to acquire national qualifications. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 12 people who took and passed the National Examination for Care Workers. The data was analyzed using the constant comparative method of the grounded theory approach. The validity of the results was examined by member checks and peer debriefing. Results: With “the wall in the process of acquiring national qualifications” as the core category, four categories were extracted as factors related to foreign care workers and accepting facilities, and six categories were extracted as factors related to accepting facilities and educational support. Conclusions: We considered that the needs and issues of continuation of employment and educational support from the perspective of successful applicants are diverse across both training and practical aspects, and are related to the protection of the rights of foreign candidates. Educational support for acquiring national qualifications should meet various needs related to working and learning at the same time, and there are limitations to current training programs. It is necessary to evaluate and improve the current program based on this new knowledge.