PNC Nursing Students Present Community Health Assessment

Purdue University North Central Community Health nursing students, under the direction of Peggy Rose, assistant professor of Nursing and Dr. Diane Spoljoric, interim Nursing Department chair, recently completed an individualized health assessment of 13 cities and towns in Lake and St. Joseph counties.

Their findings will be presented in a public open house on Tuesday, Dec. 10 from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Library-Student-Faculty Building Assembly Hall Room 02.

The students worked in pairs to gather data from a variety of sources including United States Census Bureau, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Healthy People 2020, local schools and hospitals, state and local departments of health, town and city officials, businesses and industries and on-line sources.

The purposes of the data collection and subsequent assessments were to:

•       examine the health needs of an identified community

•       identify resources that exist to meet health needs

•       identify community strengths and weaknesses

•       investigate social and political forces that affect change in an identified community

•       describe potential community health nursing diagnoses.

Lake County towns studied include Dyer, Crown Point, Hobart, Lowell, St. John, Merrillville and Hammond.

St. Joseph County towns studied include Granger, Mishawaka, New Carlisle, North Liberty, South Bend and Walkerton.

This systematic, data-driven approach to determining the health status, behaviors and needs of residents in the region was based on 10 leading behavioral healthcare concerns. The PNC students gathered data on these indicators, looking at trends from past to the present.

The community health assessments will provide information useful in determining strategies, formulating plans and establishing healthcare priorities to meet the needs of the populations in these communities. It is anticipated this information will assist hospital organizations recognized as a 501(c)(3) entity under the Internal Revenue Code with the “Community Health Needs Assessment” requirement of the “Affordable Care Act.”