Community Health Needs Assessments: Expanding the Boundaries of Nursing Education in Population Health

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Background: Conducting federally mandated community health needs assessments through academic-practice partnerships provides new opportunities for developing population health nursing competencies. Objectives: The purpose of this article was to describe how a baccalaureate practicum experience within such an assessment process, involving health care system partners, re-affirms the importance of community and population health assessment in the development of future nursing leaders. Results: Student evaluations indicated an emerging appreciation for the social determinants of health, the power of partnerships, and the importance of diversity. Integrating health care and public health system perspectives on assessment meets both public health and nursing accreditation standards and extends student leadership experiences. Such integration also improves regional capacity for improving population health. Conclusions: Federal mandates for community health needs assessments provide opportunities to advance leadership roles for nursing graduates throughout the health care system, and for confirming the importance of community assessment as an essential nursing competency.

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Public Health Nursing



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pre-print, post-print (with 12 month embargo)

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