Community Health Nursing Practice and the Roy Adaptation Model


  • Elizabeth L. Dixon R.N., P.H.N., M.S.N./M.P.H.

    1. Elizabeth L. Dixon is a Community Health Nursing Instructor, Mount Saint Mary's College, Los Angeles, California.
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Address correspondence to Elizabeth L. Dixon, Mount Saint Mary's College, Nursing Department, 12001 Chalon Road, Los Angeles, CA 90049.


In the current health care environment in the United States, the work performed by community health nurses is increasingly being recognized and valued by society at large. An increased societal emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention has generated many opportunities for community health nurses (CHNs) to stretch their practices from individually-oriented type practice models to more encompassing population-focused type practices. Addressing this trend, the Roy Adaptation Model of nursing has been reconceptualized and expanded to offer a framework for the systematic delivery of nursing care to aggregates in community settings. The purpose of this paper is to describe the current health promotion movement in the United States and discuss the impact of this movement on the practice of community health nursing. In recognition of the importance of theory-based nursing practice and the opportunities that CHNs will have in the health promotion movement, the use of the a specific conceptual model, the reconceptualized Roy Adaptation Model, will be presented as a theoretical framework for community health nursing practice. The nursing process according to Roy is applied to community health nursing and specific attention is paid to the performance of community assessments within the newly defined adaptive modes that relate to collectives: the physical, group identity, role function, and interdependence modes. To date, few references appear in the literature which link the Roy Adaptation Model to community health nursing.