We examined the current implementation and competency of occupational health nurses(OHNs) on the collaboration with public health services(PHS).Methods
A self-administered questionnaire was mailed to 2574 registered OHNs querying basic information, past PHS collaboration experience, direct PHS collaborative personnel, and competencies used in the collaboration. Our study was approved by the Ethics Committee, School of Health Sciences, Tokai University.Results
Of 815 recovered questionnaires (31.7%), 806 were valid (31.3%). Respondents’ age group was most commonly 40–49 years (36.6%). Mean total years of OHN experience was 14.7 years; 150 respondents (18.6%) had public health nurse experience. Although 658 respondents (82.6%) understood the necessity of the collaboration with PHS, only 285 (36.4%) had PHS collaboration experience. Common collaborative partners were prefectural public health nurses(PHNs) (55.3%) and PHNs who belong to cities and municipalities (52.5%), suggesting OHNs collaborate with PHNs within the nursing field. The competency most commonly used by OHNs for general duties was ‘including personal questions during interviews to establish a rapport so workers can discuss personal issues’ (255 respondents, 90.4%). The competency most commonly used in PHS collaboration was ‘assisting workers in acquiring knowledge regarding problem-solving and utilising local resources’ (74.3%). Forty percent of respondents used a unique OHN competency, ‘understanding that family members’ health issues affect workers, and emphasising the need for support when relaying this to the personnel division’. Highly likely (≥80% validity) bases for PHS collaboration were ‘open attitudes toward collaboration with professionals outside occupational health and nursing’ and ‘believing OHNs asking for outside help is normal when needed’ in 77.4% and 73.5% of respondents, respectively.Discussion
Over 60% of OHNs did not collaborate with PHS despite understanding the necessity. Nurses who collaborated had unique competencies. Training for OHNs to acquire such competencies is necessary to ensure smooth PHS collaborations.Discussion
This study was funded by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 15 K11867 (Scientific Research C).