Windshield Survey

RNBS 4601 RN to BSN Community and Population Focused Nursing

Clinical Activity: Windshield Survey

32 Hours of Clinical Credit


  1. Collaborate with health and human service agencies to address population health concerns.
  2. Analyze professional nursing roles in the diverse practice of community health nursing.
  3. Utilize knowledge of the social and political system to stimulate discussion, raise consciousness, and/or propose change related to the health of vulnerable populations.
  4. Document in a comprehensive, organized, and clearly stated manner.
  5. Establish effective working relationships with clinical faculty, facility personnel, peers, patients, families, and community representatives.
  6. Accurately identify safety risks and appropriately intervene to provide a safe environment for patients, families, populations, and communities.



Section 1

Windshield Survey – read steps 1-6 before starting the assignment

  1. Use the template provided in this document (p. 2-5) to conduct a windshield survey in your community. Do not just visit the areas you are familiar with, see the whole town. If your town does not have one of the items on the list, report it as NA.  Items should be answered fully to receive full credit.
  2. Enlist the help of a family member who will drive for you so you can take notes. If possible, use public transportation for at least part of the journey. Describe this experience by answering the questions in the template provided.
  3. Take photos of sites that surprise or concern you about your community.  Photos taken should be photos that come from your phone or camera while completing the windshield survey.  Uploading pictures from a website online will not meet the requirements for photos.
  4. Prepare a report using the windshield survey template, include at least 3 photos from the experience.
  5. At the end of the report provide a 3-4 sentence response to each of the following questions.
  1. What seem to be the community’s biggest challenges?
  2. What disparities did you note?
  3. What surprised you?
  4. Were there any safety risks identified in your assessment? If so, how would a community health nurse need to intervene to address the safety risks?
  5. How has your perspective about your community changed?
  6. What would you want readers to know about your experience?
  1. While completing the windshield survey, locate one social service agency that you want to further explore.  You will use the internet to further explore this agency and discuss the nursing process for community as client which will be discussed in a later section of the assignment.

Windshield Survey Tool


For Community Health Nurses to be able to knowledgeably plan services for a community, it is essential to know a specific community, identify health-related resources that may be helpful to members, and learn about gaps in services. A windshield survey is conducted from a car and provides a visual overview of a community. Conditions and trends in the community that could affect the health of the population are noted. This data provides background and context for working in the community or for conducting a community assessment.


Question Answer
Introduction. In what community are you completing the Windshield Survey? How does the community look?
Boundaries. Are the boundaries geographical, political, or economic? How is this seen? Do neighborhoods have names? Are there sub-communities? How are these identified?
Land use. How much open space is there? How are residential, commercial, and industrial areas distributed? Do major roads or railroad tracks divide neighborhoods, or are they on the edges of the community?
Housing and Zoning. What is the age of the buildings? What are the construction materials? Are the residences single family or multifamily dwellings? What is the size and condition of the lots (repaired or damaged)?
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 there sports facilities – basketball courts, soccer pitches, baseball fields, cricket pitches, etc.? Are they safe and maintained? Who uses them?
Common Areas.  Where do people collect for social gatherings of all sorts; where do they “hang out”? Are they for particular groups or are they open to all? Is there diversity? Are there signs posted?
Stores.  What stores (grocery, retail, drug, dry cleaning, etc.) are in the area? How do residents travel to them?
Transportation.  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?  Are there differences in these conditions from one area of the community to another?
Environmental quality.  How much usable green space is there, and is it scattered throughout the community? Is there smog or haze? Does the air smell of smoke, garbage, car exhaust, chemicals, industrial waste, etc.? Does the water in streams, ponds, lakes, etc. seem reasonably clear?
Communication.  Is there evidence of local and national newspapers to other media? Are there informational posters on streets, busses, billboards, etc.?
Signs.  What languages are business signs in?  Are traffic signs informative?  Are there signs directing people to various parts of the community (downtown, museums, highways, etc.)?
Service Centers.  Where the services for the community are located – health care, social services, schools, employment offices etc.? How many hospitals and clinics are there in the community? Where are they located? How big are they? How easy are they to get to?
Higher education. Are there two- and four-year colleges and/or universities in the community? Where are they located? Do they seem open to the community, or do they seem self-contained and isolated?
People in the Community.  Who is in the area during the day? How are they dressed? Are there animals (pets) with them or in the area? What evidence is there of particular “Classes” of people – upper, middle, working, lower?
Industries.  What are the major industries? 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? Is it more in one region than another?
Ethnicity.  Who lives in the community?  Are there identifiable racial and ethnic groups?  Do particular groups seem to live in particular areas? According to Census reports what is the ethnic 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)?
Religion.  What kinds of religious institutions are there? Do the institutions of one particular religion or sect dominate? Are there separate houses of worship for people of different ethnicities or races, even if they share the same faith?  What churches and church-run schools are in the area? How many are there?
Health and Morbidity.  Is there evidence of any health problems such as drug abuse, communicable diseases, chronic diseases, mental illnesses etc.?  Per the county report, what are the top 3 health related issues in the county where your community is located?
Politics.  Is there evidence of any political activity? Are there any signs that indicate predominant political parties and political concerns?
Perceptions and Observations.  What do residents indicate about their community and what are your observations and perceptions based upon your own personal observations?

The residents: 

Your Perceptions:

The residents: 


Your Perceptions:

Reflections about findings (each question should be answered with at least 3-4 sentences of well-thought out perspectives). 

a)      What seem to be the community’s biggest challenges?

b)      What disparities did you note and how could you advocate for change?

c)      What surprised you?

d)      Were there any safety risks identified in your assessment?  If so, how would a community health nurse need to intervene to address the safety risks?

e)      How has your perspective about your community changed?

f)       What would you want readers to know about your experience?

1.      What seem to be the community’s biggest challenges?

2.      What disparities did you note and how could you advocate for change?

3.      What surprised you?

4.      Were there any safety risks identified in your assessment?  If so, how would a community health nurse need to intervene to address the safety risks?

5.      How has your perspective about your community changed?

6.      What would you want readers to know about your experience?



**Include 3 photos of the experience below or attach separately when submitted the assignment via Canvas.

Section 2

Social Service Agency Exploration:  The following questions should be answered by you using information you obtain from the website of the social service agency you chose to further explore.  Information should not be copied from the website but instead summarized in your own words as it applies to the questions.

Questions to be answered Answer

a)      Who does the agency “partner with”/collaborate with? (Leadership/staff/ beneficiaries/all of the above?)

b)      Who does the agency partner with in the community?

* please note-this information may not be explicitly stated on the website, therefore you may need to consider who would be possible partners for those working in this agency.




a)      What is the name of the agency?

b)      What is the website for the agency?

c)      Brief background and history on the organization:  What is the mission and or vision of your organization? What geographic areas does it cover?

d)      Describe the population(s) served and describe how this agency advocates for this population. Are they well known? How do they market to the community? How do they get funded?






a)      Are they community oriented or community based? (see Chapter 1 and lecture for explanation of difference) Explain.

b)      What health promotion programs do they offer? (Any billboards/posters/educational information available?)

c)      Do they have any upcoming community events planned?

d)      Do they have plans for expanding their program or services offered to their clients?






a)      How effective is the agency in achieving their goals/mission?

b)      How does this benefit the community?





a)      What additional resources are needed for the agency to be successful?

b)      What do you feel they can they do differently?



Student Reflection:

a)      What did you learn during your exploring the website for this agency?

b)      How could you use the nursing process for community as client in your future if you see a need in your community? At least 1 step of the process (partnership, assessment, diagnosis, planning, intervention, evaluation) should be explicitly stated.





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