Community Health Distel

NRS 450 Community Health Distel 2018




Community Assessment Worksheet




· Use a mapGoogle Maps or similar services are an excellent resource

· Drive at a moderate speed, and avoid unexpected actions

· Drive both on major and minor streets, particularly in residential neighborhoods. You’ll want to get a sense of different parts of neighborhoods and different streets.


· Try to be inconspicuous, but if asked what you are doing be honest.


· Study a map beforehand

· For safety sake, we recommend that you do not perform any part of the windshield survey alone. Try not to take more than 2 people. Two or three people walking together are a normal group, but five or six is a crowd, and stands out. Plan to perform the windshield survey during daylight hours only.

· If you want to experience the community, take part in everyday activities. Take public transportation, eat in a local restaurant, buy something in a drugstore or supermarket or discount store. This will give you a chance to listen to people’s conversations and to get a sense of how they interact.

· Go inside public buildings and cultural institutions

If you have the time, combine the windshield and walking survey techniques over several trips in order to get a feel for the daily variations – try to alternate the time of day, if possible.

As always, please consider your safety in completing the survey. Chose a different day to go if there are poor driving conditions, and do not go into areas that feel unsafe.



You will note that the survey asks you to talk to residents: please do not leave this step out! The people in the community know more about it than you can learn from walking/driving through. Be sensible about whom you talk with and what is going on around you, and be respectful. You may find varying perspectives from different members of the community – this adds to the depth of your findings.

Common sources of data to supplement the windshield survey include: US Census data, Chamber of Commerce, community libraries, social service agencies, RTD, US Department of Labor, your state Department of Public Health and Department of Education, police and fire departments, local public health agencies, local stores.

You must address each required subsection of the survey, but the questions that are included on the worksheet are to be used as a guideline only. You might want to include additional information to address your specific location.

Adapted from Anderson & McFarlane (2011) Community as Partner: Theory and Practice in Nursing, 6th ed. Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins Use this tool to complete the windshield survey
Windshield Survey Worksheet    


I. Community Core

1. History–Is there any pertinent history for your location (e.g., old, established neighborhoods; new subdivision)? Is it a rural, suburban or urban community? What is your feel of the population density?

2. Demographics–What is the population of the community? Has the community experienced a recent increase or loss of population (in-migration versus out-migration)? What are the age, gender and racial distribution of the community? Can you find birth and death rates for the community?


3. Ethnicity–Do you note indicators of different ethnic groups (e.g., restaurants, festivals)? What signs do you see of different cultural groups, if any? Is there a predominant culture?


4. Religion–Are there churches, mosques, temples? Where are they located within the community? Any religious schools? Is there evidence of religious homogeneity or diversity?



II. Subsystems

1. Physical Environment–How does the community look? What is the age and condition of the majority of housing? Do housing conditions vary in different parts of the community? How is the land used (open space, residential, agricultural, commercial, industrial)? Is there any evidence of pollution (water, soil, air) or environmental concerns (rodents, trash)? What is the size (e.g., square miles, blocks)?

2. Health & Social Services–What are the major causes of morbidity and mortality? What is the infant mortality rate and teenage pregnancy rate? Are there any ’traditional” healers (e.g., curanderos, herbalists)? Are there clinics, ambulances, hospitals, practitioners’ offices, home health agencies, urgent or emergency care centers, nursing homes, social service facilities, mental health services?  

Economy and Safety

3. Economy and Safety–Do you see signs of economic growth such as real estate signs or new construction, remodeling or street repair? Do you see signs of community decline such as trash, abandoned cars, graffiti or rundown housing?

Are there industries, stores, places for employment? What occupations (retail, industrial, farming, service, government, tourism or unemployed) are represented in the community? Where do people grocery shop, inside or outside of the community?

Is there a difference in types of stores available in different neighborhoods or parts of the community?

What is the unemployment rate, types of protective services are there (e.g., fire, police)? What types of crimes are committed here? And is the geographic distribution of crimes? Are there any signs of neighborhood watch programs?



4. Transportation –How do people get around? What type of private and public transportation is available? Do you see buses, bicycles, taxis? Are there sidewalks, bike trails? Is getting around in the community possible for people with disabilities?


5. Politics and Government–What is the local governmental jurisdiction of the community and how is it organized (e.g., elected mayor, city council with single member districts)? What services does the local government provide to residents?


6. Public Health–What is the local health department? How big is the agency and what population does it serve? What services are provided?


7. Education–Are there schools in the area? Do they look well-maintained and how are they rated academically? What are the drop-out rates? How far are the schools from the center of the community? Are there any school health services, there any higher-education schools available in the community? And there any libraries?








8. Recreation–Where do children play? What are the major forms of recreation? What facilities for recreation do you see? Are there any movie theatres, bowling alleys or amusement parks in the area? Are there any recreation programs aimed at specific groups such as seniors or preschoolers?



III. Interviews

The Residents–How do people feel about the community? What do they identify as its strengths? Do people feel safe? Any problems that they see in the community? Any changes they would like to see made? Ask several people from different groups (e.g., old, young, field worker, factory worker, professional, minister, housewife) and keep track of who gives what answer. DO NOT AGGREGATE YOUR INTERVIEWS. STATE WHO SAID WHAT. Attempt to gain interviews from people whom you believe might be “stakeholders”, if possible.


2. Your Perceptions–General statements about the “health” of this community. What are its strengths or assets? Upon completion of the windshield survey, what health- related problems can you identify for this community? (Be specific)


Note: Supplement your impressions with information from the census, police records, school statistics, chamber of commerce data, and health department reports, and so on to confirm or refute your conclusions. Tables, graphs, and maps are helpful and will aid in your analysis.


Cite all sources per APA guidelines


Syllabus – NRS450, updated: Jan. 2013 1

Windshield Survey Scoring Rubric Updated 03/2018 4

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