Authors: Quannetta T. Edwards, Professor, PhD, RN, FNP, WHNP, FAANP, Ivy Tuason, Assistant Professor, MSN, RN, FNP and Ruth Trudgeon, Assistant Professor, MSN, RN
Community-based programs are important measures to prevent disease, improve health and enhance the quality of life of its residents. These programs are designed and developed outside of traditional health care settings and aimed to meet target populations. To ensure that appropriate programs are implemented that are culturally-sensitive and meet the needs of the target population, a comprehensive community health assessment (CHA) should be conducted. Nurses can play an integral role in assessing, designing and implementing community based programs however this process warrants knowledge, skills and competencies in public health and CHA. The purpose of this paper is to describe and discuss graduate level courses to train and prepare nurses for practice and leadership roles in community health and CHA. Two courses are described for masters’ and doctoral of nursing practice students that focuses on an ecological and educational approach using a web-based format. Each of the courses provide a multidimensional approach to community health that integrates theory, evidence-based research, CHA, epidemiology, biostatistics, ethics, social sciences and policy to provide students with comprehensive measures to assess at risk populations, identify needs based on CHA and develop and implement appropriate community based programs. The courses have led to positive outcomes in practice, education, research and policy for students as well as significant interventions in health promotion and disease prevention for varied populations and settings.
Keywords: Community health assessment; community risk assessment; population health; web-based community assessment; graduate level nursing education