Communities are composed of the core, which are the people and eight subsystems. A community assessment typically starts with a windshield survey where each of the eight community subsystems are explored. The physical environment is often the first subsystem assessed. This assignment is focused on providing guidelines to help health professional students identify characteristics in the physical environment that can impact health. Mayor Franklin Hill may be able to provide additional insight about this subsystem.


Purchase Sentinel City and tour the city.

Assignment Instructions

1. Review the following resources:

a. Course textbook and/or other assigned readings

b. Meet with Mayor Hill to discuss the subsystem: physical environment

2. Enter Sentinel City® and begin the bus tour.

3. As you tour the Sentinel City, select either Casper Park District or Industrial Heights. Note the characteristics of the selected neighborhood related to the physical environment. Tour the entire city and make note of disparities and advantages of your selected community in relation to the city as a whole. You will utilize this process for each subsystem throughout the course.

4. Address each of the characteristics in the far-left column below and add two additional characteristics. Fill in the columns for each physical environment characteristic.

5. Use correct APA format when citing resources and include a reference list that support your rationales in standard APA format on a new page. Refer to the APA manual.

6. For questions, contact your Academic Coach.


Subsystem: Physical Environment: (insert the name of your selected community here.)
Physical Environment Characteristics Description of Physical Environment Health Impact on the community Evidence-Based Rationale to Support the Health Impact
General Appearance
Economic Differences

(compared to that of other communities in the city)

Green Space
Road Conditions
Condition and Types of Housing
Additional Characteristics
Additional Characteristics


Learning Objectives

· Assess the physical environment of a specific community

· Identify characteristics of the physical environment that can impact health

· Describe the health impact of positive and negative characteristics of a community

· Compare current literature to observations of the physical environment

AACN Public Health Essentials

This assignment addresses the following AACN Public Health Essentials:

· Essential II: Basic Organizational and Systems Leadership for Quality Care and Patient Safety

· Apply systems theory to PHN practice with individuals, families, and groups.

· Essential III: Essential III: Scholarship for Evidence-Based Practice

· Use epidemiologic data and the ecological perspective to identify health risks for a population.

· Essential VII: Clinical Prevention and Population Health for Optimizing Health

· Practice evidence-based public health nursing to promote the health of individuals, families, and groups.

· Essential IX: Baccalaureate Generalist Nursing Practice

· Use basic descriptive epidemiological methods when conducting a health assessment for individuals, families, and groups.

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