PURPOSE This study focused on the initial meeting between public health nurses and TB patients to investigate the detection of patients' needs and the support provided by public health nurses during the meeting, with the aim of successfully implementing a directly observed treatment short course (DOTS) strategy for the community. METHODS A self-administered questionnaire was sent to nurses responsible for community DOTS strategy for TB in Aichi, Gifu, Mie, and Shizuoka prefectures in the Tokai region in order to collect the following information concerning the initial meeting between public health nurses and TB patients: nurses' characteristics, patient characteristics, information collected by the nurses, concerns expressed by patients, and specific support provided by the nurses. Data collected were compared between patients who completed TB treatment (complete treatment group) and those who did not (incomplete treatment group). RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Valid responses were obtained from 42 public health nurses regarding 158 TB patients. The incomplete treatment group had a high proportion of patients who received no support from their families, had irregular lifestyles, or had financial problems. There were discrepancies between the information collected by public health nurses and patients' concerns. It was also revealed that public health nurses provided more specific support and a wider range of support to the incomplete treatment group, suggesting that public health nurses give specific support in the initial meeting to patients who were likely to discontinue TB treatment, thereby motivating them to complete the treatment. CONCLUSIONS It is essential to arrange initial public health nurse-patient meetings at an early stage to build patients awareness of the disease and the importance of treatment adherence. Continuous support is crucial until the patients complete treatment.