Community assessment survey is one of the most effective tools in the public health research that is usually used in order to collect data on the specific community’s health for the purposes of identifying the key factors that determine the population’s health status. The community assessment traditionally includes significant demographic and health status information, and it is useful to identify the areas where health care interventions are necessary (Allender, Rector, & Warner, 2014, p. 84). From this point, the results of the assessment can be used to determine the specific health priorities in the community, and much attention should be paid to such health problems typical for the population of Collier County, Florida, as obesity, diabetes, heart diseases, respiratory diseases, and cancer. Rates in suicides and substance abuse should also be taken into account. Furthermore, focusing on the data collected with references to Collier County, it is possible to identify the community’s health concerns and to create the responsive strategies and interventions that can be effective to address the prioritized needs.
Prioritize Public Health Issues
In order to improve the health situation in the community, it is necessary to focus on planning and implementing interventions that are effective to address certain issues that can influence the population’s health status. Table 1 presents health issues and needs identified as a result of the community assessment conducted in Collier County, Florida. The prioritization criteria used to identify the major health issue in the community are the prevalence rate and the frequency of mentioning the problem by the survey’s respondents (Allender et al., 2014, p. 112). As a result of prioritizing the issues, it is possible to state that the obesity and overweight levels in adults are the major health problem in the community of Collier County. The problem of the lack of access to primary care is also often mentioned by respondents, but the issue of obesity is more significant (The Health Planning Council of Southwest Florida, 2013, p. 26). Therefore, while identifying the major health need for the population of the county, it is also necessary to determine the target population and discuss short-term and long-term goals important to be achieved by the public health nurse working in the community.
Table 1. Health Issues Typical for Collier County in Order of Priority
|Issues||Target Population||Short-Term Goal(s)||Long-Term Goal(s)|
|Obesity||Adults aged 21-65||Improve adults’ knowledge of healthy eating habits and the role of obesity for developing chronic diseases.||Decrease the rate of overweight and obesity in the community.|
|Access to Primary Care||Low-income persons, uninsured persons, elderly persons||Identify community’s members who do not have the health care provider and address the issue.||Increase the access to primary care and its affordability for the community’s members.|
|Diabetes||Persons aged 20-65||Improve the population’s knowledge regarding the role of healthy eating to prevent diabetes.||Decrease the rate of diabetes in the community.|
|Substance Abuse||Persons aged 18-28||Improve the population’s knowledge regarding risks of smoking and consuming alcohol and drugs.||Decrease the rate of the substance abuse in the community.|
|Suicides||Persons aged 16-35||Provide counseling to the youth and adult population to avoid depression and suicide.||Contribute to decreasing the rates of suicides in the community.|
Plan, Implement, and Evaluate Intervention Using Minnesota Intervention Strategies
Minnesota Intervention Strategies (MIS) provide a specific framework for addressing health issues through planning and implementing public health programs in the community. Different strategies can also be implemented at various levels within the community, including such levels as the individual and family level, community level, and system level with the outcome evaluation as the additional procedure (Trujillo-Londirgan & Lewenson, 2013, p. 65). Having referred to the assessment findings and to the prioritized health need in the community of Collier County, it is possible to select the health teaching at the community level as the most appropriate intervention strategy for addressing such a public health issue as overweight and obesity in adults. The reason for selection is that the population of the community demonstrates the lack of knowledge regarding healthy eating habits and overweight prevention strategies.
Focusing on the planning stage, it is important to state that the new Collier County Overweight Prevention Program should include lectures, consultations, and seminars implemented with references to the community level of prevention and intervention. As a result, it is important to invite professionals in the sphere of healthy eating for consultancies and develop the lectures’ content (Table 2).
Table 2. Collier County Overweight Prevention Program Implementation Plan
The proposed health teaching Collier County Overweight Prevention Program will be implemented in several steps:
- Lectures by public health nurses and dieticians on healthy eating habits and on the role of exercise to prevent overweight and obesity. The lectures are conducted for the whole community at workplaces.
- Seminars conducted by nurses in public halls and in the community’s centers.
- Consultations on preventing and overcoming health problems conducted at the community level for the adult population (Morrison-Sandberg & Johnson, 2011, p. 14).
The important stage associated with the intervention is the evaluation of the program that is necessary to discuss the achievement of the set goals and the program’s effectiveness. The evaluation of the proposed program is planned to be realized through conducting a post-intervention survey and measuring changes in adults’ obesity rates (Ogden, Carroll, Kit, & Flegal, 2014, p. 807). Thus, the survey will present the information on the changes in the population’s awareness of healthy eating habits and nutritional value of different products as well as on changes in the population’s attitudes to exercise. Much attention will be paid to measurements and screenings associated with fixing changes in the population’s weight and wellness after the first (April 2015), third (July 2015), and sixth (October 2015) months of the intervention (Table 2).
Role of the Nurse
Public health nurses play a significant role in implementing the proposed intervention as a new program in the community of Collier County because in this program, nurses perform as main educators in the sphere of healthy eating and exercise. Thus, public health nurses should be invited to conduct consultations and seminars on the principles of healthy eating and on the role of exercise at community’s workplaces (Conard & Pape, 2014, p. 88). Furthermore, public nurses are expected to be responsible for collecting statistics on changes in the population’s health status and habits as well as evaluation of the program.
The process of the community assessment has provided me with many useful lessons that can help improve my understanding of the community’s health concerns and my practice as a public health nurse. I have learnt how it is possible to assess the health of population, what factors can influence the health status of the community, and what aspects should be taken into consideration in order to prioritize needs and plan or implement efficient interventions. Now, I understand that it is necessary to pay more attention to the level of the community members’ awareness of certain health issues and their roles for the development of chronic diseases and severe conditions. I have found that adults in the community often lack the appropriate information regarding healthy or risky habits and practices. As a result, the choices of individuals and families are often unhealthy. I added to my vision of the role of a public health nurse in the community, and I chose to focus on the role of a nurse as a health educator for the certain population because choices of the community’s members often depend on the quality of their interactions with nurses. Using a Public Health Nursing Assessment Tool (PHNAT), it is possible to conduct the focused research and plan appropriate interventions.
From this point, it is important to state that findings of the assessment have many significant implications for nursing. Firstly, the survey accentuates the importance of data collection as the basis for planning credible health interventions. The assessment findings indicate that the public health research is crucial in ensuring the success of possible interventions proposed by the health authorities (Allender et al., 2014, p. 54). Secondly, the findings of this study are also important to influence the development and choice of strategies that are effective to cope with the issue of obesity.
Referring to the conducted study, it is also relevant to recommend nurses to focus more on the analysis of factors that can be discussed as predictors of health problems in the community. Thus, it is necessary to focus on finding links between the socio-economic status of the community, environmental factors, implementation of health programs and the actual health status of the population that can be affected by the lack of the knowledge regarding the healthy lifestyle and risky behaviors, absence of insurance, transportation issue, and the lack of the access to primary or special care.
The community assessment survey was conducted in Collier County, Florida, with the help of the PHNAT. The assessment aimed to identify areas and health concerns that are discussed as important with references to the specific population of the community. Health needs were identified and prioritized basing on the actual data collected on the community’s environment, population’s demographics, and disease rates typical for Collier County. It was found that the majority of the adult population in the community suffers from overweight or obesity. Furthermore, it was found that the members of the community had the limited access to primary care. As a result, the prevention and treatment of many diseases in the community is ineffective. The problems associated with substance abuse and suicides that are typical for the young population were also identified during the assessment. The intervention plan was proposed for addressing the health priority in Collier County. This program was planned to respond to the lack of the health education in the community. Thus, the expected outcomes of the intervention are the improvement of the population’s health status, decreased rates of overweight and obesity, and positive changes in attitudes to healthy eating and exercise.
Allender, J., Rector, C., & Warner, K. (2014). Community health nursing: Promoting and protecting the public’s health. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins.
Conard, P. L., & Pape, T. (2014). Roles and responsibilities of the nursing scholar. Pediatric Nursing, 40(2), 87-90.
Morrison-Sandberg, L., & Johnson, K. (2011). Obesity prevention practices of elementary school nurses in Minnesota: Findings from interviews with licensed school nurses. The Journal of School Nursing, 27(1), 13-21.
Ogden, C., Carroll, M., Kit, B., & Flegal, K. (2014). Prevalence of childhood and adult obesity in the United States, 2011-2012. JAMA, 311(8), 806-814.
The Health Planning Council of Southwest Florida. (2013). Collier County Florida: Health assessment. Web.
Trujillo-Londirgan, M., & Lewenson, S. B. (2013). Public health nursing: Practical population based-based care. Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning.