Maurer and Smith (2013) define a geopolitical community as a spatial designation, either a geographical or geopolitical area, that is formed by natural or human-made boundaries. I live in Phoenix, Arizona which does not have a distinct boundary such as a river or mountain. However, it has the Salt River Project which helped develop canal systems to allow for millions of people to live in the desert with access to water. It is my geopolitical community because it is a geographical location and is also the state capitol. One example of a man-made boundary in my community are zones which dictate the specific school our children attend.
A phenomenological community is another way of looking at the community in terms of the citizens’ feeling of belonging or awareness of membership rather than a spatial designation. (Maurer & Smith, 2013). My phenomenological community is a middle-class neighborhood where residents are like-minded but have diverse cultures, ethnicities, and religious backgrounds. We share common interests such as an active home owner’s association and neighborhood block watch. There are numerous religious institutions surrounding our community.
Cultural diversity would be a challenge for community health nurses in providing care to different communities and populations. This is where the nurse needs to be aware of their own biases and beliefs while ensuring they are providing culturally competent care. It is important to stay up-to-date and educated by such means as taking CEU’s. Some communities may have limited means and the nurse will have to adapt to working with what is available. Benefits include bringing the nurses insight, experience, and ideas to the community that may not have been thought possible. When working with a similar or same community to the nurse’s own background, the community must still begin with an assessment by using the nursing process. Assumptions should not be made. While working in the same community, benefits include the firsthand knowledge of what issues are present in the community and what has worked and failed in the past. Understanding of culture and diversity is an asset. Addressing challenges needs to be done while prioritizing needs. According to Maurer & Smith (2013), physical, psychological, social, cultural, economic, and political considerations affect the appropriateness of strategies to solve a problem in any given community. Taking time to assess the culture and needs of the community while building trust is key to addressing the people and the issues identified.
Maurer, F.A. & Smith, C.M. (2013). Community/public health nursing practice (5th ed.)
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