1st stage – Identify and define the population that will be the focus of your DNP project or a population of interest.
2nd stage – Explain how you conduct a preliminary needs assessment using the course materials you have read in Modules 1-3.
Health Needs Assessment
Pamela J. Biernacki, DNP, FNP – C
Master’s Program Director, Assistant Professor
Department of Family and Community Health
Needs assessment: evaluation that answers
questions about the conditions your program
addresses, used to determine whether there is a
need for a new program, and to prioritize needs
within and across program areas
Key informant: Persons whose personal or
professional position gives them a perspective
on the nature and scope of a social problem
Survey: systematic collection of information from a
defined population, usually interviews or
questionnaires from a sample
Focus group: small panel of people chosen for their
knowledge or perspective on a topic of interest
Social indicator: Periodic measurements designed to
track the course of a social indicator over time
Incidence: Number of new cases over a specified
Prevalence: Number of existing cases in a specific
area at a given time
Population at risk: Individuals or units in a specified
area with characteristics judged to indicate that they
have a significant probability of having or developing
a particular condition
Likelihood of correctly selecting the target who
should be in a program in contrast to those who
may be selected by the criterion but aren’t
Correctly excluding people or units that don’t have
the condition of concern
Population in need: Individuals or units in a
specific area that have a particular problematic
Rate: Occurrence or existence of a particular
condition expressed as a proportion of units in
the population (eg deaths per 1,000)
Stakeholders: Have something to gain or lose
from the program
Citizen participation: mobilization of citizens to
take action to change or improve a community
Community development: creating conditions of
economic and social progress for the whole
community with its active participation and
Community participation: involving people in the
institutions or decisions that affect their lives
Empowered community: one where individuals and
organizations apply their skills and resources in an
effort to meet their needs
Grass-roots participation: Bottom-up efforts of
people taking action on their own behalf, blending
confrontation and cooperation to meet their needs
Primary, Secondary and Combined Data
Sources of Primary Data
Single step (cross-sectional, one time)
Multi-step (contact on more than one occasion)
Sources of Primary Data
Nominal group process
Few knowledgeable representatives of the target
population (5-7) qualify and quantify needs
Self-directed assessments (health assessments)
Sources of Primary Data
From Governmental Agencies
US Department of Commerce
Centers for Disease Control
Purpose and Scope
Decide the purpose and scope of the
What do you want to collect?
How extensive do you want to be?
Decide if you will use primary or secondary data, or
Analyze your data
Formal or informal
“Eyeballing” your data
Most critical need
Adequate resources to manage
Is the best approach to the problem a health promotion
Can you solve the problem in a reasonable amount of time
In setting priorities consider:
A: Size of the problem
B: Seriousness of the problem
Economic loss to the community, families, individuals
Involvement of others not initially affected (infectious disease, drugs)
Severity of the problem (morbidity, mortality, disability)
Urgency of solving problem before causes other problems
C: Effectiveness of the intervention
D: Determine whether an intervention can be carried out at all
Identify the factors linked to the health problem
Identify the program focus
What predisposing, enabling, and reinforcing factors exist?
What programs are available?
What programs are being used? Not used? Why?
How were those program needs determined?
Are the programs accessible?
Are needs being met?
Validate your prioritized needs
Confirm that you’re doing the right thing
Make sure needs assessment wasn’t biased
Conduct a focus group with your population to confirm
Get a second opinion from other health care providers
Define the Elements
A locale or domain that is characterized by the following
a sense of identity and belonging
Common symbol systems
Shared emotional connections
Recognizing the concern
May happen inside or outside the community
Local or state health department
VCU SON DNP Nursing Student
Grass roots, citizen initiated, bottom-up
Approach on their terms, play their game
Know the politics
Know the power players
May enter through an established organization
Organizing the people –
Fairly small group
Choose appropriate leaders
Choose supportive people
Choose people affected by the problem
Identify a leader from the core group
Skills of organizers
Change vision attributes
Can see a need for change and are committed to
making that change
Interactional or experience skills
Play well with others
Assess the community
Identify primary building blocks
Most accessible assets
Located in the neighborhood/Employment Setting
Controlled by the neighborhood/Employment Setting
Small businesses or $$ source
If outside the employment setting
Identify secondary building blocks
Located in the workplace (?)
Located in the neighborhood
Controlled outside the neighborhood
Higher education institutions
Identify potential building blocks
Resources outside the neighborhood
Controlled by outside people
Implement the plan
Evaluate the outcomes
Maintain the outcomes
Change as needed
What are the nature and magnitude of the problem?
What are the characteristics of the population in
What are the needs of the population?
How much service is needed, over what time frame?
What service delivery arrangements are needed?
What clientele should be served?
What services should be provided?
What are the best delivery systems?
How can the program identify, recruit, and sustain the
How should the program be organized?
What resources are necessary and appropriate for the
Operations and Delivery
Are administrative and service objectives being met?
Are the intended people getting the intended services?
Are there needy but un-served persons the program isn’t
Do sufficient numbers use/complete services?
Are clients satisfied with services?
Are administrative, organizational, and personnel
functions handled well?
Are goals and objectives being achieved?
Do the services have beneficial effects on the
Are some recipients affected more by the service
Is the problem or situation the services address
Cost and Efficiency
Are resources used efficiently?
Is the cost reasonable in relation to benefits?
Would alternative approaches yield equivalent
benefits at less cost?