Windshield Survey Nursing Paper Example

Windshield Survey

This post answers the question of what is a windshield survey nursing, what is a community assessment nursing, and discusses windshield survey nursing, with a guide on how to structure a windshield survey paper, a windshield survey community assessment paper, and lastly provides a windshield survey nursing paper example.

Windshield Survey Nursing

What is a Windshield Survey:

“A  windshield survey is an informal method used by community health nurses to obtain basic knowledge about a given community. It provides a subjective view of the various physical characteristics of a communal area as observed while driving or walking through a neighborhood.

.”(Retrieved from;”

What is a Community Assessment

A community health assessment (sometimes called a CHA), also known as community health needs assessment (sometimes called a CHNA), refers to a state, tribal, local, or territorial health assessment that identifies key health needs and issues through systematic, comprehensive data collection and analysis. Community health assessments use such principles as

  • Multi-sector collaborations that support shared ownership of all phases of community health improvement, including assessment, planning, investment, implementation, and evaluation
  • Proactive, broad, and diverse community engagement to improve results
  • A definition of community that encompasses both a significant enough area to allow for population-wide interventions and measurable results, and includes a targeted focus to address disparities among subpopulations
  • Maximum transparency to improve community engagement and accountability
  • Use of evidence-based interventions and encouragement of innovative practices with a thorough evaluation
  • Evaluation to inform a continuous improvement process
  • Use of the highest quality data pooled from and shared among, diverse public and private sources

(Retrieved from

Windshield Survey Nursing

A windshield survey is one of the useful community assessment approaches for nurses. Here’s how to conduct a windshield survey nursing

Windshield Survey Nursing DIRECTIONS. Your form does NOT need to follow APA formatting; however, you are expected to use correct grammar, spelling, syntax and write in complete sentences. When writing a Windshield survey Nursing Paper Example, make sure you include the following sections and follow these guides (also refer to your instructor’s rubric)

  1. Introduction to the Community: Identify the community you will be using for this assignment and provide a brief one to two-paragraph description of the community. Your community should be the area where you live or the area surrounding your work setting.
  2. Windshield Survey: Assess your community by doing an informal windshield survey. Information about the components of a windshield survey is located in your textbook, Nies & McEwen (2011) on page 97 (Box 6-2). Drive through the area and report your observations by describing each of the following six areas using the questions in the text as your guide (one to two paragraphs each):
    1. Community vitality
    2. Indicators of social and economic conditions
    3. Health resources
    4. Environmental conditions related to health
    5. Social functioning
    6. Attitude toward healthcare – It is helpful to conduct this assessment at least two different times: during the day or evening, on a weekday, and/or on the weekend. If possible, plan on asking someone to drive during your survey so that you can take notes.
  3. Conclusion: Provide a summary of your findings. The information gathered during the windshield survey should assist you to identify a community health problem that will be further assessed in the next assignment
  4. References: The purpose of this assignment is to document your observations of your community. Outside sources are not required. However, if sources are used, these sources must be cited within the form and listed in the Reference section.

The following are best practices in preparing this project:

  • Make sure all elements of the form are included
  • Review directions and grading rubric below thoroughly.
  • Cite any outside references as above (these are optional).
  • Proofread prior to final submission.
windshield survey nursing
windshield survey nursing

In the windshield survey paper template, include the following information in the sections


  • Are the boundaries geographical, political, or economic?
  • Do neighborhoods have names?
  • Are there sub-communities?
  • How are these identified?

Housing and Zoning

  • What is the age of the buildings?  Are the residences single-family or multifamily dwellings?

Signs of Decay

  • Is the area well maintained or in disrepair? Is there garbage-strewn? Are there trashed/abandoned cars, places for rodents or other wildlife to hide, vacant lots?

Parks and Recreational Areas

  • Are there play areas for children and adults? Are they safe and maintained? Is there a Community Center? Who uses them?

Common Areas

  • Where do people collect for social gatherings; where do they “hang out”? Are they for particular groups or are they open to all? Are there signs posted?


  • What stores (grocery, retail, drug, dry cleaning, etc.) are in the area? How do residents travel to them?


  • How do most people get around the area? Is there public transportation? If so what kind and does it appear to be used? Who uses it? What is the condition of the streets, roads, highways?


  • Is there evidence of local and national newspapers to other media? Are there informational posters on streets, busses, billboards, etc.?

Service Centers

  • What services are available in the community – health care, social services, schools, employment offices etc.?

People in the Community

  • Who is in the area during the day?  What evidence is thereof particular “classes” of people – upper, middle, working, lower?


  • What are the major industries located in the area? What types of occupations are evident?

Protective Services

  • Where are fire and police stations located? Is there evidence of police and fire protection in the area?


  • What is the predominant ethnic group? Are there residents from a variety of ethnic backgrounds or is the community mostly one group? Which one? Are there stores, restaurants, churches, schools, or languages that indicate a particular ethnic group(s)?


  • What churches and church-run schools are in the area (denomination)? How many are there of each denomination?

Health and Morbidity

  • Is there evidence of any health problems such as drug/alcohol abuse, communicable or chronic diseases, mental illness (etc)?


  • Is there evidence of political activity?  Are there any signs that indicate a predominant political party (parties)or concern(s)?
windshield survey nursing
windshield survey nursing

Windshield survey Nursing Paper Example 

Windshield Survey


Community assessment is crucial to planning, implementation, and evaluation of programs to improve the health of a population.  A windshield survey is an informal method used by community health nurses to obtain basic knowledge about a given community.  It provides a subjective view of the various physical characteristics of a communal area as observed while driving or walking through a neighborhood.


Community assessment is an essential function of community nursing.  Understanding the various types of community will help clarify the process.  The first type of community described is a “geopolitical community” (Harkness & DeMarco, 2012, p. 177).  It is an aggregate of people living or working in a defined geographic area.  The second is “phenomenological community” (Harkness & DeMarco, 2012, p. 177), which is a collection of people sharing common interests, or philosophies and inter/intrapersonal connections.  Borders for this type of community are not as clear as a geopolitical community.  A phenomenological community can exist within a geopolitical community.  An example of this is homeless.  The third is a broader view, encompassing a society, a nation, or the international community of the world as we know it.

Community Health

Community health is usually focused on a specific geographic region.  In this way, specific epidemiological data can be obtained, and a precise community “report card” (Harkness & DeMarco, 2012, p. 181) can be created.  From there specific interventions, including measurable goals can be planned to address specific risks identified in the community.

Community as client

Community as a client requires collaborative practice among nurses, epidemiologists, genetic counselors, and social workers (Harkness & DeMarco, 2012, p. 180), among others, to achieve health promotion.  There are many resources available within our various communities to encourage health.  A major nursing role is to assess deficits and identify community assets for the implementation of change to improve community health.

Healthy People 2020 Leading Health Indicator

A leading health indicator that must continue to be addressed is tobacco abuse in the adult population (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2010, p. 3).  Nursing has a great role in creating evidence-based change for this indicator. In the author’s work setting, nurses can provide education toward secondary or tertiary prevention (Harkness & DeMarco, 2012, p. 72) at the point of care for acute cardiac care.  Nurses can also become involved in primary prevention by forming collaborative relationships with various community agencies to educate the public about risks and prevention.  Nursing’s voice can also be heard through political expression.  Membership in professional organizations and exercising our right to vote can also pave the way to primary prevention, and better health for all.


Nursing’s role in community health is crucial.  Important skills are; knowledge of various community types, strong assessment skills, and understanding of health risks and vulnerable populations.  Utilization of available resources and working collaboratively with other professionals are steps to improving the overall health of the population.

Windshield Survey Nursing Paper Example
Windshield Survey Nursing Paper Example


Windshield survey nursing paper example Appendix

Housing and zoning

Homes are mainly detached single family dwellings.  They are well maintained. Primary construction materials are brick and board.  All are modernized with plumbing and central heat.  In town homes have smaller yards than township homes.  All are well cared for.


Transportation is mainly by private car.  There are many walkers and cyclists observed.  There is also a public bus system available that offers a fixed schedule.

Roads are in good condition, with main highways readily available to serve businesses and residents.  A health concern is that some of the busier roads are dangerous for walkers and cyclists due to lack of/inadequate sidewalks/crossings.  There is a paved recreational trail for public use.

Race and ethnicity

Mainly Caucasian.  There are a few African Americans, and Asians noted.  There are no overt indicators of ethnicity observed.  A local resident would recognize that many of the nail salons are owned and operated by people of Asian descent.


 Open space

There are many parks and open spaces available.  Along the bay front there is a large, well maintained park and public boat launch.  The streets are tree lined.  There is a lush 60+ acre park with many varieties of trees, and streams including public trails.  Many homeless people and teens use this area as a place to drink, which poses a potential health concern for all.  The physical grounds for this area were a former state psychiatric hospital, which has been reclaimed from decay.  The buildings are gradually being renovated and provide space for businesses, condominiums, low income housing, senior housing, and office space.


Service centers

The social security and post offices are within walking distance.  There is a large, easily accessible hospital, and many physician and dental offices, also within walking distance.  There are several parks that are well used and maintained. There is even a dog park where people can take their pets for exercise.  It is fenced in and well used.

Religion and politics

There is religious heterogeneity noted.  On one corner there is a large Lutheran church; on another is a Jewish temple.  A couple of blocks away a large Catholic church is noted.  There are two smaller churches located in the neighborhood.  Evidence is observed that they are not used only for Sunday service.  There are posters for various community meetings, and shared sponsorship for events such as Safe Harbor, which helps shelter our homeless in the winter.


The boundaries of this neighborhood are mainly natural.  On the east is the Boardman Lake, on the north is Grand Traverse Bay, the west is bordered by highway M 72, and the east is bordered by Airport Road.  The unofficial description for this neighborhood is the west side, which includes bits of Old Town Traverse City, and Garfield township.

Stores and street people

There are several local grocery stores/meat markets that are accessible by car, bicycle, or foot.  The flourishing downtown area offers many fine restaurants and bars, as well as specialty stores.

Most people observed on the streets are walkers/joggers, and pedestrians making their way to a destination.  Children are seen walking to/from school.  There are occasional homeless people noted.  All are dressed accordingly, except the teens that seem to think shorts are O.K. year round.  The only stray animals are the occasional cat.  Most dogs are either leashed or escorted by ownersA few people do not feel leashes are necessary.  Dog’s that are not leashed in a public setting pose a health hazard.

Health and morbidity

The most obvious chronic disease conditions are obesity and tobacco abuse.  Both of these conditions are serious health hazards.  It is not uncommon to observe severely obese individuals/families in this community.  A few compound the issue by smoking.  Since Michigan banned smoking in restaurants and bars, this phenomena is much less obvious.  It is still noticeable when following the car of a smoker, as one can easily smell the tobacco.  Many of the homeless observed have mental health issues, as they are often in conflict with local law enforcement.  Both our excellent regional referral hospital and the local Veterans Affairs clinic are within walking distance.


The major common area for this neighborhood is downtown Traverse City.  There are many attractions for all to enjoy.  Many interesting specialty stores, coffee shops, theaters, event centers,

Micro-breweries, bars and restaurants make the entire downtown area a strong draw for all.  Hours are mainly six A.M. to three A.M. Both locals as well as visitors enjoy the downtown and waterfront year-round.


Signs of decay

This neighborhood is very alive and on the way up.  Traverse City is a popular place to live and work.  The described neighborhood is very desirable for all the reasons described above.  Store fronts are occupied and busy, homes and yards are well maintained, and schools/churches are busy and are a vital part of the community.


The most common media has become the smart phone.  People are able to review local news, weather, and sports at a moment’s notice, all while on the go.  The local newspaper is still a popular way to stay connected, as there is evidence of many regularly used home delivery tubes.  Cable television is also popular for sporting events, as well as news and weather.  The only outdoor antennas are satellite dishes.


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

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2010). Healthy people 2020. Retrieved from for windshield survey nursing paper example


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