This assessment is a foundational exercise for you to learn about your environment and explore where you live. Take some time to intentionally explore your county. Look at your county as the home and the place of work for the county residents. While driving through your community, stop for coffee or have lunch in a neighborhood. Find a place to eat where you can sit down as part of the community. You may want to walk around your community as well so that you can explore it from both a driving perspective and a walking perspective. Once you have observed the area, write about your impressions of the county in your notes. Reflect on any surprises and whether the county looks different to you now after taking the time to note the various elements. What would you like to learn more about related to your topic and population of interest? You may want to sketch a map related to your topic area for future reference when writing your community description. Take notes on the county using the following questions as a guide. These questions are only to provide guidance; you may discover other areas that you want to note. Include your findings in the community description section of your paper. You will use this information to complete task 1 for your “Community Health and Population-Focused Nursing” course. Collecting this data will help you define your population of interest and prepare for your practicum experience. You may also want to reference these results in the resources and partners section of your paper.
Housing and Commercial Buildings:
x How old are the houses and buildings in the community?
x What materials are the homes and buildings constructed from?
x Are all the houses similar in age and architecture?
x How would you characterize their differences?
x Are the houses detached or connected to each other?
x Are there solar panels? Windmills?
x Do the houses have space in front or behind them?
x What is the general condition of the houses and buildings?
x Are there signs of disrepair (e.g., broken doors or windows, leaks, missing locks)?
x Are there signs of neighborhood pride, such as well-tended yards?
x Is there central heating, modern plumbing, air conditioning?
x Is the county primarily rural, suburban, urban, or a mix?
How much open space is there?
x What is the quality of the space (i.e., lush green parks or rubble-filled lots)?
x What is the lot size of the houses, lawns, and flower boxes?
x Do you see trees on the streets or a green island in the center of the streets?
Is the open space public or private? Who uses this space? Boundaries: x What signs are there of where neighborhoods begin and end? x Are the boundaries natural (a river, a different terrain); physical (a highway, a railroad); or economic (differences in real estate or presence of industrial or commercial units along with residential)? x Do the neighborhoods have an identity or a name? Do you see them displayed? Are there unofficial names? “Commons”: x What are the neighborhood hangouts (e.g., schoolyard, convenience store, bar, restaurant, park, 24-hour drugstore)? x What groups of people tend to gather at these hangouts? x At what time do they typically meet? x Does the commons area have a sense of territoriality, or is it open to everyone? Transportation: x How do people get in and out of the neighborhoods (e.g., car, bus, bike, walking)? x Are the streets and roads conducive to good transportation and bicycle use and also to community life? x Are there major highways running through the county? Who do these highways serve? x How frequently is public transportation available? x Are gas stations available? x Are there train stations or light rail stations? Service centers: x Do you see social agencies, clients, recreation centers, signs of activity at the schools? x Are there offices of doctors, dentists, and other such services? x Are there parks? Are these parks in use? Stores: x Where do residents shop (e.g., shopping centers, neighborhood stores, outdoor markets)? x How do they travel? People out and about: x If you are traveling during the day, who do you see on the street (e.g., an occasional passerby, a father with a baby)? x Do you see anyone you would not expect? x Can you spot the purpose of those that you see, such as a door-to-door salesperson or a postal worker? x Is the dress of those you see representative or unexpected? x What animals do you see (e.g., stray cats, pedigreed pets, watchdogs, birds, wild life)? Signs of community vibrancy: x Is this neighborhood on the way up or down? x Is it alive? x How would you decide? x Do you see any of the following: street vendors, trash, abandoned cars, political posters, neighborhood-meeting posters, real estate signs, abandoned houses, mixed zoning usage, people tending their yards, sidewalks in good repair? Race: x Are the residents primarily Caucasian, African-American, Asian, of another group, or is the area integrated?
x Are there indications of ethnicity (e.g., food stores, churches, private schools, information or signs in a language other than English)?
x Of what religion are the residents?
x Do you see evidence of heterogeneity or homogeneity?
x What denominations are the churches, temples, and mosques?
x Do you see evidence of these religious facilities being used other than on days of worship?
x Do you see evidence of acute or of chronic diseases or conditions?
x Do you see evidence of accidents, communicable morbidity diseases, alcoholism, drug addiction, mental illness, etc.?
x How far it is to the nearest hospital?
To the nearest clinic?
x Do you see any political campaign posters?
x Is there a headquarters present?
Do you see evidence of a predominant party affiliation?
x Do you see indications of television use such as satellite dishes?
x What magazines and newspapers do residents read?
x What media do you see being sold in the stores?
x What form of media seems most important to the residents (e.g., radio, television, print, online)?
x What languages are represented in the various forms of media? Physical Environment: x Are there indications of an excess of certain types of activities, such as stores that sell alcohol or fast food restaurants? x What sorts of billboards are displayed and what do they indicate? x Are there many cell phone towers or is cell phone access limited?