Honours Bachelor of Science - Nursing Degree

Honours Bachelor of Science, nursing Nursing, Nurses

The Community

Community health nursing has been shaped by remarkable nurses such as Florence Nightingale and organizations such as the Victorian Order of Nurses. Community health nurses promote the health of:

  • Individuals
  • Families
  • Communities
  • Populations
  • Environments

Community health nursing combines nursing theory and knowledge, social sciences and public health science with primary health care. They regard disease prevention, health protection and health promotion as the goals of nursing practice.

Helpful hint: If you're looking for the history of nursing in Canada, then please check out the book, This is Public Health: A Canadian History, featured on the Canadian Public Health Association website.  The history of nursing is very much integrated with the history of public health in Canada.

This Glossary of Terms from the Public Health Agency of Canada provides good definitions to help with an understanding of this area.

This section outlines epidemiological content and tools for decision-making in healthcare. Also, consult with the EDI& B Guide for more information on intersectionality and health topics.



RNAO. (2008). Canadian community health nursing standards of practice. https://neltoolkit.rnao.ca/sites/default/files/Canadian%20Community%20Health%20Nursing%20Standards%20of%20Practice%20mar08_english.pdf


Population health refers to the health of a population as measured by health status indicators and as influenced by:

  • Social
  • Economic
  • Physical environments
  • Personal health practices
  • Individual capacity
  • Coping skills
  • Human biology
  • Early childhood development
  • Health services

A population health approach focuses on improving the health status of the population rather than individuals.  A population health approach uses "evidence-based decision making" including quantitative and qualitative evidence on the determinants of health to identify priorities for improvements in health.

Community health nurses contribute in many ways to population health by their roles and knowledge. They are leaders of change to systems that support health and play key roles in disease, disability and injury prevention. A relevant document to review which outlines the nurse's role in population health is from the Canadian Public Health Association, "Public Health~Community Health Nursing Practice in Canada: Roles and Activities"


Government of Canada. (2013). What is the population health approach? https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/health-promotion/population-health/population-health-approach/what-population-health-approach.html#health

This video, An Introduction to Health Promotion and the Ottawa charter, is highly recommended since it explains health promotion, the process of enabling people to increase control over, and how to improve their health. Health promotion is a very important part of public health. The video examines these key concepts and the Ottawa Charter – a landmark document that has been influential in providing guidance to the goals and concepts of health promotion.

Diagram outlines social determinants of health which includes social & community context, neighbourhood & environment, health care, economic stability and education

Image: NursingCenter. (n.d.). Social determinants of health [Image]. NursingCenter. https://www.nursingcenter.com/ncblog/november-2019/social-determinants-of-health

Significant health disparities exist between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians. First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples continue to experience considerably lower health outcomes than non-Aboriginal Canadians.  On many health indicators, First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples consistently show a disproportionate burden of disease or health disparities. These disparities are rooted in inequities with many of the disparities existing outside of the health domain. 


National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health. (2013). An overview of aboriginal health in canada. https://www.ccnsa-nccah.ca/docs/context/FS-OverviewAbororiginalHealth-EN.pdf

Key Canadian Agencies for Social Determinants of Health

Social determinants of health refer to a specific group of social and economic factors within the broader determinants of health. These relate to a person's place in society, such as income, education or employment. Experiences of discrimination, racism and historical trauma are important social determinants of health for certain groups such as Indigenous Peoples, LGBTQ and Black Canadians. Please read more about the social determinants of health from the Government of Canada and the links provided below.


Government of Canada. (2022). Social determinants of health and health inequalities. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/health-promotion/population-health/what-determines-health.html

Epidemiology for Decision-Making

According to the World Health Organization, epidemiology is the study of the spread of disease and factors affecting states of health. Epidemiology doesn’t just focus on illness; it studies wellness and how to maintain it.  Nurses are on the front line of disease outbreaks, so they need to understand the basics of epidemiology and apply them where necessary. The links below are great tools to start locating epidemiological information for your research.


This video will provide a greater understanding of how to measure and report on health inequities:



Government of Canada. (2022). How to integrate intersectionality theory in quantitative health equity analysis: a rapid review and checklist of promising practices. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/science-research-data/how-integrate-intersectionality-theory-quantitative-health-equity-analysis.html

Regis College. (2021). Etiology vs. epidemiology: important concepts in nursing. https://online.regiscollege.edu/blog/etiology-vs-epidemiology-important-concepts-in-nursing/

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