NUR/405 Healthy Communities: Theory and Practice
November 7, 2011
Beth Edwards, MSN, FNP- BC
The first step required for providing community health nursing services involves a comprehensive assessment of the community. This can be accomplished by a windshield survey, conducted by making visual observations from a car while driving through the neighborhood. Valuable information and data collection during a windshield survey can be used to identify the health-related needs of the community and evaluate the need for additional community health services. Delaware is divided into three counties; Kent is centrally located between New Castle and Sussex County. Kent County is home to the state capital, Dover. I have chosen Kent County Delaware, where I reside, as the focus for my windshield survey.
Community Health Defined
According to Stanhope and Lancaster, (2008, p. 192) “A community is defined as a social network of interacting individuals, usually concentrated in a defined territory.” Members within a community interact with each other in local businesses, schools, hospitals, and churches; this interaction creates a sense of belonging and purpose within the community. Community health recognizes the specific health needs of the community, offering resources and health education to improve community health outcomes. Community health is defined as “the meeting of collective needs by identifying problems and managing behaviors within the community itself and the between the community and larger society” (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2008, p. 347). Community health is not limited to improving outcomes of an individual suffering from a particular disease or illness, but concentrates on the improvement of the community as a whole. In public health nursing, the community rather than an individual becomes the client. Although individuals make up the community and nurses may assist individuals, priorities remain focused on the health care needs and outcomes of the community as a whole. Determining the effectiveness of interventions and evaluation of outcomes relies on data collected from members within the community.
Aspect of Community Health
Specific characteristics and health concerns have been identified, affecting the health of current Kent County residents, such as limited access to healthy foods, shortage of primary care physicians, and limited availability to recreational facilities promoting fitness. While there are a few local farmers within the county, residents have extremely limited access to healthy food outlets such as organic foods and produce from grocery stores, produce stands, and farmer’s markets. According to County Health Ranking (2011) 47% of Kent County residents have access to healthy foods, falling drastically behind the national benchmark of 92%. Produce departments with local grocery stores have limited variety and quantity and offer minimal organic produce. Grocery stores in my local areas typically advertise sales on red meat high in fat content, convenient calorie dense frozen meals, processed or canned foods with large amounts of sodium, and unhealthy, concentrated sugar containing snacks. When grocery stores offer sale prices on these items, they are promoting the consumption of unhealthy foods and poor food choices. Kent County has limited number of primary care physicians available to provide health services, including screening for potential health risks and preventive care. Statistics show a ratio of one primary care physician per 1,555 residents of Kent County, nearly twice the number or residents compared to national standards (County Health Rankings, 2011). Limited city and county funds prevent the establishment of additional community recreational facilities available to local residents.
Healthy People 2020 Health Indicators
Many of the health indicators addressed by Healthy People 2020 are...