Community Assessment and Measuring Community Health Using Epidemiology Data

  • Journal Article
  • Practice Tool
  • Textbook

Teaching Strategy Description:

Working in groups of 3-4 per placement, students learn and apply the community health nursing process using two of four key practice tools. Students are in the placement 6 hours/week for a total of 72 hours. Additional one hour conferences are held weekly with their faculty. Clinical placements for “community as client” include schools, parenting resource centres (Ontario Early Years Centers), workplaces, English as a Second Language programs, and in public health. Practice Tool 1 is used for community assessment and Practice Tool 2 is used for measuring the health of their community through epidemiology data (see Resources for Practice Tools).

Students are also expected to gather relevant health data from various secondary sources including Statistic Canada and health status reports from their region. Tanner’s model of clinical reasoning is the framework underpinning the community health nursing process for community/population as client and the four Practice Tools.

The students complete 2 clinical reasoning worksheets describing the following:

  1. Noticing – a synopsis/summary of the salient information they have learned about their community as client from a full range of sources, such as census data, windshield/walkabout survey and interviews
  2. Interpreting- the relationships between the pieces of information and why they are significant for their community as client
  3. Responding- the decisions they made in caring for their community as client, the factors that influenced their decisions, and how they determined the priorities of their nursing actions and any adjustments or changes they made to their nursing actions based on further information gathered about their community as client
  4. Reflecting – what they are learning through experience about themselves and about nursing

Teaching Context:

  • Required level 3 community clinical placement course


Practice Tool #1 Community Assessment

Yiu, L. (2012). Community care. In L.L. Stamler & L. Yiu (Eds.), Community health nursing: A Canadian perspective (pp. 213-235). Toronto, Ontario: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Practice Tool #2  Measuring the Health of their Community

Stamler, L.L. (2012). Epidemiology.  In L.L. Stamler & L. Yiu (Eds), Community health nursing: A Canadian perspective (pp.139-154). Toronto, Ontario: Pearson Prentice Hall.

The Practice Tools were developed at McMasterMohawk College BScN program and can be accessed through the links provided. Relevant websites and sources are included in the tools.


Tanner, C.A. (2006) Thinking like a nurse: a research-based model of clinical judgement in nursing. Journal of Nursing Education, 45(6):204-11.


Submitted by:  Ruth Schofield, McMaster University/ Mohawk Conestoga College

Indicator(s): 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5