Journal of Community Health Essay Paper


Preparing for the course was a daunting experience, especially with the high emotions. First, feelings of terror on whether or not I would successfully complete the course, or if it would be overwhelming. Am I making the right decision or is this the wrong decision. Second, feelings of excitement on starting the next chapter in my life by attending an education program that contributes to my career path. Third, feelings of nervousness in being part of a class and making a good first impression. Fourth, feelings of relief as I take an active step towards an envisioned career goal. Fifth, feeling energized as I get ready to take on whatever the course may bring along. Overall, preparing for the course was a roller-coaster of emotions.  Journal of Community Health Essay Paper

Collecting health history and performing physical examinations has been an engaging experience. It was especially easy to talk to patients as there was a common communication language. In addition, there was an idea of what to expect as the course content revealed how to collect history and perform examinations. Still, there was a significant weakness in the lack of experience and non-familiarity with points to be noted in interviews. There is an expectation that being familiar with interview points will make it easier to collect health history and perform physical examination in the future.

In moving forwards with the course, there is an expectation of improved competence in conducting health assessments in different settings with different patients. This will include an understanding of the basic techniques to be applied. Besides that, there is an expectation to understand the principles of conducting an interview with patients, such as how to note and interpret the verbal and non-verbal cues. Furthermore, I expect to understand how to collect complete health history, and conduct cultural, mental status and substance use assessments as may be required in different settings. Overall, I expect that at the end of this course, I will be able to communicate with patients to identify their specific health care needs.

Shadow Health is an interactive software that will be used extensively throughout this course. You will need the software Day 1 of this course, so it is imperative that you order your access code from the bookstore as soon as possible to allow time for any delays. To order, access, and use the software, follow these steps:

  • Go to the Walden Bookstore and purchase access to Shadow Health and the required text.
  • Once Shadow Health has been purchased, an email will be sent from the bookstore with directions for revealing the access code.
  • Review this video explaining how to register in Shadow Health:
  • Use the Shadow Health link located in the navigation menu on the left in the Blackboard course.
  • Follow the prompts to register in Shadow Health. You will need the access code provided from the bookstore to register. Once registered, Shadow Health should always be accessed via the link in Blackboard.
  • Use only Google Chrome when accessing Shadow Health and make sure all other programs are turned off on your computer. Other browsers do not work well and will not allow the Shadow Health speech to text function to work.
  • Once registered, complete the Shadow Health Orientation in the Shadow Health program and review the videos designed to assist with navigating and completing assignments.
  • Read the Documentation Tutorial located in the Week 1 Learning Resources.

It is necessary to write a narrative nursing shift report/progress note including subjective and objective information for each Shadow Health assessment. Sample documentation is provided in the Weeks 1 and 2 assignments only. Documentation should not be copied from the Model Documentation or any areas of the text or other sources as this is plagiarism.

Each Shadow Health assignment may be attempted and reopened as many times as desired prior to the due date. Students are responsible for selecting and turning in the attempt they want graded. Faculty will only grade the “turned in” attempt and will not review multiple attempts.

For a complete guide on reopening and turning in your attempts, visit:

Turning in Attempts:

Reopening Attempts:

Questions regarding Shadow Health should be directed to Shadow Health Technical Help 1-800-860-3241 or at



Most of you have ample experience interviewing patients for a health history, conducting physical examinations, or utilizing both as an integral part of patient care. The challenges we face today, and will face tomorrow, make it increasingly important to broaden our knowledge base and accurately apply critical thinking skills when collecting a health history, conducting a physical examination, or utilizing the resulting information to provide effective patient care. This week, we are focusing on the first of these three steps—the health history.

A health history is the gathering of subjective (what the patient “says”) information about a patient’s physiological, psychological, sociological, and spiritual status. Interaction with the patient while taking a health history allows the nurse to establish a rapport with the patient and his or her family. Elements of the history include: the patient’s overall health status; the course of the present illness including symptoms; the current management of illness; the patient’s medical history (including family medical history) and social history; and how the patient perceives his or her illness.

This week, you will review the process of conducting and recording a patient’s health history. Factors that influence the process of taking a complete health history will be examined. A comprehensive health history interview will be conducted utilizing Shadow Health.

Shadow Health is a digital health experience. It needs to be purchased in the Walden Book Store. This week, the program guides you through an interactive health assessment of Tina Jones, a virtual patient. You practice effective communication and documentation of your findings, and then you synthesize the data obtained during the interactive assessment.

In subsequent weeks, you will use Shadow Health to examine a child and then an elderly patient. But, you don’t ever have to say goodbye to your “new friends.” You receive lifetime access to Shadow Health, as an aid to staying current in your practice after you leave Walden. You will have access to Shadow Health in 5, 10, and even 20 years.

Week 1: Collecting a Health History

In this week, you will ensure that you can successfully log in to Shadow Health. You will prepare a journal entry reflecting on your preparedness for this course, and you will engage in your first experiences in Shadow Health.

What do I have to do? When do I have to do it?
Assignment 1 Journal Entry due by Day 5 of Week 1
Assignment 2 Shadow Health Experiences:

DCE Orientation due by Day 7 of Week 1

Conversation Concept Lab due by Day 7 of Week 1

Health History due by Day 7 of Week 1

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Analyze health assessment strategies
  • Apply interviewing and communication skills to assess a patient’s health history
  • Reflect on personal and professional strengths and needs

Learning Resources

Required Readings

Note: Rubrics for all assignments can be found in the Course Information area. Be sure to locate and reference them when completing all course assignments.

Jarvis, C. (2020). Physical examination and health assessment (8th ed.). Elsevier.

  • Chapter 1, “Evidenced-Based Assessment” (pp. 1-10)
  • Chapter 2, “Cultural Assessment” (pp. 11-22)
  • Chapter 3, “The Interview” (pp. 23-44)
  • Chapter 4, “The Complete Health History” (pp. 45-62)
  • Chapter 5, “Mental Status Assessment” (pp. 63-84)
  • Chapter 6, “Substance Use Assessment” (pp. 85-98)

Fowler, M. D. M., & American Nurses Association. (2015). Guide to the code of ethics for nurses with interpretive statements: Development, interpretation, and application (2nd ed.). American Nurses Association.

Document: Health Assessment Nursing Documentation Tutorial (Word document)

Document: Interviewing Skills (Word document

Shadow Health Support Resources

Shadow Health. (n.d.). Walden introduction [Video].

Shadow Health. (n.d.). Shadow Health help desk.

Document: Shadow Health. (n.d.). Useful tips and tricks (Version 2). (PDF)

Writing Resources

Scholarly writing is a critical component of nursing academics. Walden University provides resources to support scholarly writing such as the CON Writing Template, Grammarly, access to the Walden Writing Center editing services, and many other tools for success.

Access these supportive resources for successful writing in the Writing Resources tab found in the left-hand menu of the course or by clicking the link below.

Writing Resources

Assignment 1: Journal: Observe, Process, Reflect

The objective of the Journal Assignment is to provide you with a private place to “think on the page,” a phrase used to describe writing as a form of thinking. Some of us process our thoughts out loud as we describe them to others. In an academic environment, you will be asked to record your ideas in writing, or “think on the page,” to show the new knowledge that you’ve acquired through reading and listening to the resources and completing the assignments. The journal is not a formal type of writing, and only you and your Instructor will see the journal entry. These entries are meant to be free writing but should be revised before submitting.

As you write, think about the audience to whom you are writing, and the difference between personal writing and scholarly writing. Your journal writing falls into the category of personal writing, and should be approached in that way. Think of the journal as an academic reflection space.

To Prepare

  • Review the Week 1 Assignment 1 Rubric provided in the Course Information area or accessible through the link below.
  • Review the Syllabus provided in the course. Review material concerning health histories and physical examinations.
  • Include the following in your Journal entry:
    • Think, reflect and record the feelings you have had as you have prepared to take this course—which may initially seem like a refresher course for most of you.
    • Examine and record your strengths and weaknesses concerning collecting health histories and performing physical examinations.
    • Describe in your journal what you expect to learn in this assessment course.

By Day 5

Submit a 150-word Journal entry addressing the three elements of focus above and in the grading rubric. You may include any other comments or thoughts unrelated to the listed areas. There are no right or wrong answers and credit for the Assignment is earned by timely completion and providing coherent thoughts about the areas of focus.

Journal of Community Health Essay Paper





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