Windshield Survey

The health sector continues to strive for improved outcomes of practice. It is for this reason that professionals have prioritized community assessment as a tool through which planning, evaluation, and implementation programs can be made possible in order to achieve improvements, with regards to, the health of a target population. However, it is worth noting, that in order for community health nurses to make concrete plans concerning a particular community, it remains imperative that they first get to identify health related resources that are going to clearly highlight the gaps in service provision. 

A windshield survey is an informal method which professionals continue to make use of as it provides them with a subjective view of the physical characteristics of a target population as they take a walk or drive by the area. It is estimated that a lot of information can be gotten from this visual overview of the community as the exercise highlights the prevalent conditions hence making it easier for professionals to identify gaps which derail the attainment of favorable outcomes of practice. The information is later used in making intervention initiatives from the insights while also creating an avenue for professionals to work in a collaborative manner to bring change which is both acceptable and appropriate for the population.  


Harkness and DeMarco (2012) describe a community as a group of people that are bound by the shared geographical boundaries, and its environmental resources. These social groups often share a common cultural and historical heritage and are governed by specific laws best suited for their kind of lifestyle. Health observers are concerned with carrying out preliminary and fundamental assessment scans of these groups of people and it is from this that the tone of the community is captured. It is worth noting that there are particular types of communities as described by Harkness & DeMarco (2012). 

The first of these is the geopolitical community which is the aggregate of all the individuals working and living in a specific geographic region. The second type is the phenomenological community which includes all collections of all individuals sharing inter/intra-personal connections, common interests, beliefs, or philosophies. It is worth noting, however, that a phenomenological community can exist within a wider geopolitical community (Harkness & DeMarco, 2012). 

A community health nursing practice provides an inclusion of social assistance functions and public health in order to promote health improvements within the community setting (Stanhope, 2008). Community health nursing practice goes beyond just caring for the health of an individual to provide a unique approach to developing the individuals as part of the wider community. Perhaps the reason why analysts have continued to argue that this remains one of the crucial ways of making systematic changes that could impact the health of the population stems from the fact that it provides an interaction framework thus creating a conducive environment that contributes to the mutual understanding between professionals and the community members. In the long-term, such contributions end up promoting community health.

Community Health

Community health is primarily concerned with the report card which highlights specific epidemiological data gotten from studying a population. This report card provides crucial information that providers later use in planning for intervention initiatives and formulating measurable goals and objectives that seek to address these risks and achieve a wholesome improvement in the health of the entire population (Stanhope & Knollmueller, 1997).   

Community as Client

Perhaps the most crucial role of health practitioners includes encouraging healthful practices amongst individuals of the community in order to achieve particular set health objectives (Stanhope, 2008). Community as a client encourages the collaboration between community health nurses and other stakeholders such as counselors, epidemiologists, and social workers to assess deficits, and implement meaningful change. 

Leading Health Indicator

One of the leading indicators which the health sector has continued to make certain fundamental changes in an effort to reduce its prevalence includes reducing the high number of cases of heart disease and stroke amongst the adult population (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2010). Community health nurses hold the key to improving the education amongst members through involving the public in prevention education. St. Paul, Minnesota formed the basis of this windshield survey owing to the fact that it continues to record some of the highest cases of existing and preexisting heart and stroke problems amongst the population hence, therefore, this provided us with the opportunity of giving recommendations that could have a positive impact in regard to improving patient outcomes. 


Community diagnosis remains crucial in providing a guide to nurses as to the mechanisms they can use to make improvements in their area of practice. In this regard, the socio-demographic profile, environmental sanitation status, nutrition, and health of the population remain crucial pointers of pertinent health needs hence allowing them create solutions. The purpose of this windshield survey would be to:-

Purpose of the Windshield Survey

  • Obtain the community’s socio-demographic profile based on the objective of the assignment. It is worth noting that this information would later be used to serve as reference for the nurses and other stakeholders as well as forming the basis of setting indicators for health evaluation. 
  • Identify the most pertinent issues that ought to be prioritized in making a plan targeted at improving the health outcomes of the community.
  • Conduct an analysis of the cultural beliefs and practices of the community which may inform their attitudes towards the acceptance of implementation programs. 
  • Identifying the available health resources and highlighting the priority areas for change. 

General Objectives of the Survey

  • Part of the main objectives of the survey includes first establishing good rapport with all the members of the community
  • Making an evaluation of the environmental variables which could lead to the detection of the possible source of the ailment and, therefore, explaining the reasons for its prevalence amongst the community members.
  • Acquiring the general statistical data that could help establish the baseline data. It is from this information that the determination of health trends can be made possible. 
  • Providing solutions to the observable problems from the needs of the community through establishing a robust health plan that targets priority areas.
  • Identifying the sources where the community gets its health related services and assesses whether the health care delivery systems are available. It is from this information that the strengthening of people’s capacities can be made possible. 

Physical Environment

Saint Paul is the second most populous city of the state of Minnesota. It lies on the east bank of the Mississippi river and has an estimated population of about 300,000 (Health, 2011). Its housing and zoning landscape is one that highlights a mix of both historical and urban lifestyle. For instance, some antique homes can date back to the 1800s. However, there are high-rise building apartments which house some of the city’s younger population. There are a few landscaped areas which have beautiful manicured lawns. 

Housing and Zoning

The house types are segregated depending on the neighborhood and income levels. In some areas, the homes are detached single family dwellings. The modernized buildings have smaller yards unlike older buildings which have larger ones.


Saint Paul is located in a centralized location on the east bank of the Mississippi river. It also borders other cities that make the Twin cities. 


The major common area for this neighborhood includes the open spaces for the general public.  There are also a number of attractions for its population as the area is home to a museum, and a number of zoos.  The area also has a golf course where members of the community frequent during weekends.  


The mode of transportation in the area is mainly by private cars. There is a public transport network for those who do not own a car and services are offered based on a fixed schedule. A certain population prefer walking and cycling and their preferences have been taken into consideration through the provision of adequate sidewalks. In addition, there are pave recreational trails for public use.

Service Centers

The city has a number of easily accessible hospitals hence easy access to dental and physician services. The area also has a number of gyms, schools, community centers, and a dog park where pet owners can take their pets for exercise. 

Stores and Street People

The area has buildings that house retail shops. These shopping centers provide easy access to grocery stores and random shopping to the locals as they are accessible by foot or car. All malls house restaurants and bars which offer fine dining to some of the wealthier citizens. There are equally a number of eateries that provide food and affordable drinks to the middle class and lower income citizens. The city is also home to occasional homeless people 

Signs of Decay

The neighborhood has a mix of lower, middle, and upper class citizens. The more affluent citizens live in cleaner neighborhoods. The lower class residential areas have fairly clean streets but there are few noticeable graffiti writings on the walls of some apartments. The yards around community spaces such as churches and schools are well-maintained and, therefore, according to observations everything appeared orderly and set in place. 

Race and Ethnicity

Based on the observation, and data from the United States Census Bureau (2011), it can be noted that the Caucasian population forms the majority ethnic group of Saint Paul. However, depending on the neighborhood, other cultures and races can be observed. For example, there is a growing African American and Asian population. Other races represented include the Native Hawaiian and the American Indian population who form part of the minority ethic groups within the city. 

Religion and Politics

The population is comprised of different denominational groups and the biggest population subscribe to Christianity. This fact can be observed owing to a high number of churches located across the population. In addition, there are a number of church-run schools within the area. However, it is equally worth noting that there remains a huge population that has yet to subscribe to any of the religions.

Health and Morbidity

According to the Minnesota Department of Health (2011), top of the list amongst the biggest contributors to the high mortality rates include lifestyle diseases. They range from cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Perhaps the biggest reason why such is the case stems from the fact that the city has adopted a modern way of lifestyle. This lifestyle has contributed to a growing population of the obese, active drinkers, and smokers. The city has an active vibrant night life where a huge population consume alcohol and engage in smoking. Also, there is a huge population that has yet to adopt to a healthier way of eating and physical exercises.


Two of the most common sources of information amongst the local population includes the internet and the local print media. There are also other channels through which locals get their news and they include local news stations that relay the weather information, sports, and relevant state news to the general public. Cable television is also popular amongst the population as members continue to subscribe to entertainment channels.

Care Plan Goal

The goal of the plan would be to reduce the number of heart disease and stroke cases amongst the population

Interventions: Pursue health promotion education amongst community members 

The following elements would be included:

  • A thorough educational program that would make it easier to achieve the set objectives.
  • Teach the population about the dangers of smoking, drinking, and an unhealthy way of eating in order to reduce their risks of obesity, heart disease, and stroke.
  • Inform the population on the importance of regular medical checkups with their practitioners in order to prevent some diseases as well as to ensure early diagnosis for effective treatment.
  • Constant home visits by health providers to community members to enlighten them on the same.


The role of a community health nurse remains a crucial one as it enables the health sector identify some of the gaps in practice which do not contribute to the yielding of favorable outcomes of practice. Saint Paul is a strong, non-exploitative community that has working service provision mechanisms in place. In this regard, most locals have access to safe working and living environments, adequate food, and descent shelter. The community equally has access to good healthcare services which makes it easy for locals to access health facilities. 

The city has a vibrant economy and a good overall health rating in spite of the leading causes of morbidity. It is worth noting that part of the solutions to solving the problem includes increasing the participation amongst locals in order to achieve the set objectives. Educating the public could have lasting long-term effects of reduced cases of heart disease, stroke, cancers, and obesity rates. These reductions would, therefore, contribute greatly towards the attainment of favorable outcomes of practice. However, it ought to be noted that in order for the health sector to achieve this, there must be concerted efforts amongst key stakeholders. Some of these include leadership, educators, and the engaging the local media so as to achieve favorable outcomes of practice. 


Harkness, G. A., & DeMarco, R. F. (2012). Community and public health nursing evidence for practice. Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins.

Health, M. D. (2011). “Minnesota Department of Health”. Retrieved from the Minnesota Department of Health: 

Health, T. O. (2008). “U.S. Department of Health.” Retrieved from

Stanhope, M. (2008). Public Health Nursing: Population-Centered Health Care in the Community, 7e. St. Louis: Mosby.

Stanhope M., & Knollmueller, R. N. (1997). Public and community health nurse’s consultant: A health promotion guide. St. Louis: Mosby

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2010). “Healthy people 2020.” Retrieved from

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