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Reaction Paper

CH Problem/Issue




Community Agencies

Community Assessment

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Updated: 2/27/08

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NURS 4250 - Community Health Nursing
Spring II  2008

Personal Reactions to Assigned Book

The influences of culture, socioeconomic status, lifestyle, poverty, environment and violence on community health will be explored by reading literature dealing with these topics. Each student will read a book distributed by the instructor, write a personal reaction paper, and participate in a discussion with others who have read the book and the class as a whole, during the regular class session on Tuesday, April 8.


Your Reaction Paper* should have a correctly formatted Title Page and include a Bibliography with the full APA citation of the book you have read. The body should contain five numbered sections in which you address the following: 

  1. Pick a concept, fact, or idea you think is interesting or important; explain it in your own words; and describe why you think it is interesting or important. 
  2. Pick another concept, fact, or idea you think is interesting or important; explain it in your own words; and describe why you think it is interesting or important. 
  3. Pick a third concept, fact, or idea you think is interesting or important; explain it in your own words; and describe why you think it is interesting or important. 
  4. Pick a concept, fact, or idea you disagree with or don't understand, describe it and explain why
  5. Explain if, how, and to what extent will this book impact either your personal or professional life. 
*While it is not necessary or really even desirable to include any quotes, if you do so, APA style in doing necessary citation is expected. 
Community Health Problem/Issue:

Identify a community health problem or issue, that affects a specific aggregate of people, which you would like to study in depth. 

Review the scholarly literature on your selected topic. Use a minimum of seven articles published within last five years. Interviews and general internet sources are appropriate as ADDITIONAL references. This research will serve as the basis for your paper and presentation.

Paper Guidelines:

Incorporating information from your literature review and other sources, write a formal, typed, APA format paper (with the "text or body" 8-10 pages in length); addressing the following points: 

  • a description of the problem or issue 
    • (to include the issue, etiology, effect of your problem or issue on public health) 
  • a description of the aggregate at risk or and the extent and effect of the problem within the aggregate 
    • (to include who and how many people affected and the cost, both individually and to society) 
  • a description of specific community programs/resources/potential solutions 
    • (to include local, state and national programs) 
  • for each community program's main focus, identify the level of prevention toward which its services are directed
  • an assessment of whether existing programs/resources are adequate to meet the need? 
    • (what else might be needed, appropriate?)

Oral Presentation Guidelines:

Incorporating information from your literature review and other sources, present selected key information from your study of this community health problem/issue to the class on the designated date. Your presentation should include:

  • a description of the problem or issue
  • identification the aggregate at risk or affected by the issue/problem
  • the extent of the problem within the aggregate
  • the specific existing community programs/resources 
Presentations should not exceed 10-15 minutes and time for questions should be planned within the time frame. 

Using APA style, type and distribute to the instructor and all class members:

  • title page, 
  • listing of the community programs and resources, and 
  • bibliography.


This course requires 32 hours of clinical experience which is divided between health education/ advocacy for clients of a community agency and completing a community assessment. The written requirements for each clinical option are included here and will be discussed in the first class meeting.

Community Agencies (16 hours)

Clinical Experiences

You may select from a variety of community agencies and resources for your clinical experiences. Examples will be discussed at the first class session. Some experiences will be arranged by the instructor (e.g. Clinical with the Homeless: Operation Uplift) while others will be arranged by the student. Your focus should be to learn about the agency, the aggregate(s) served by the agency, the role of the nurse, and how the agency contributes to the health of the community.

Clinical Summaries and Time Log

A summary of each clinical site experience is required.  Your summary should include:
  • a description of the agency, 
  • its work and how that contributes to the health of the community, 
  • the characteristics of the clients served, 
  • the role or potential role for nurses within the agency, and 
  • your experiences*. 
*If this was a valuable experience, please so indicate so that other students may be made aware of the opportunity. These summaries may be handed in as completed and all are due no later than the last class session.

A time log should also be maintained and submitted. (Form will be distributed) Your summaries and log will be retained by the instructor.

Community Assessment (16 hours)

Community Assessment Project

Following the guidelines below and as discussed in class, conduct a community assessment. Multiple data collection sources and methods, including windshield survey and interviews, must be used and documented.  Based on your assessment, identify a community diagnosis, goal(s) and interventions. Evaluate by relating this information to a goal and subobjective identified in "Healthy People 2010".

This information is to be collected, organized and compiled in a notebook with divisions for each segment of assessment:

  • a title page, with identification of subsystems assessed by each group member
  • the community core
  • the eight subsystems
    • (a section for each subsystem)
  • the diagnosis and goal(s)
  • interventions
  • evaluation 
  • references/resources.
The community assessment notebooks will be retained by the instructor, so make copies before submission if you so desire.

The Community as Client Model

The focus of this assessment is the community. Everyone is part of at least one community. Every community is affected by eight subsystems: recreation; physical environment; education; safety and transportation; politics and government; health and social services; communication; and economics. In addition to the "people" (the core) of the community, these eight subsystems come together to form the assessment data for your community assessment project.

Specific information and detailed descriptions can be found in Anderson, E. T., & McFarlane, J. (2008) Community as partner: Theory and practice in nursing (5th ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott. 

You are to apply the nursing process in this project and include the elements as described below:

The assessment data is to include the “community core”* and the “eight subsystems” listed above and described in Anderson & McFarlane (2004). Multiple data collection sources and methods, including interviews** and windshield survey, should be used and documented using APA format.

  • *Community core demographics and data are to be compared with comparable data from a larger entity, such as county or state. 
  • **Each student is to talk to at least three key people in the community when gathering data. Examples of key people to interview for the project include, but are not limited to: the mayor; alder persons, health care providers, a service provider such as mail carrier or shop owner; and long term residents of the community. People who live or work in the community are a rich source of information regarding the community and can often provide data not found in printed form. Make sure you coordinate with the others in your group to interview different people from the community. 
Once the assessment data have been collected and analyzed, a community diagnosis and goal(s) are to be identified. These must be based on your data and may be developed with input from the community. The format for this diagnostic statement will be discussed in class.

Interventions are to be planned which could strengthen the lines of resistance through one of the prevention modes as defined by Anderson & McFarlane (2004). You must include at least two interventions for each prevention mode:

Select a pertinent goal and subobjective from the "Healthy People 2010" document. Discuss the relationship of your assessment data/diagnosis to the goal/subobjective's baseline and how your planned interventions could contribute toward the achievement of the HP target.

To include all sources of information, including personal interviews. Use APA format and modifications distributed by instructor.

Grading distribution for Community Assessment


  • Description of community core                                      8 points 
    • Comparison with larger entity 
  • Eight subsystems                                                      64 points 
    • Evidence of interviews with key people 
    • Evidence of windshield survey data 
  *must include correct (APA) citation of sources, as modified by instructor (refer to handout)

Community Diagnosis and Goal(s)                                     6 points

Interventions (at least two of each)

  • Primary Interventions                                                  4 points 
  • Secondary Interventions                                             4 points 
  • Tertiary Interventions                                                 4 points 
        Discussion of relationship of assessment,
        diagnosis, goal(s), and interventions                              4 points
        to "Healthy People 2010" objective.

Reference/resource list                                                    6 points
                                                                     Total        100 points***

***These points will be converted to the appropriate percentage of the points (35) allotted for the group grade. An additional 5 points are possible from self and peer evaluations.

As always, feel free to Email me with any questions.                                    NURS-4250 Home