Feasibility of describing community strengths relative to Omaha system concepts

Madeleine J Kerr, Sebastiana del Rosario Gargantua-Aguila, Kari Glavin, Michelle L.L. Honey, Nursen O. Nahcivan, Selda Secginli, Karen S. Martin, Karen A Monsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Objectives: The purpose was to determine the feasibility of using a standardized language, the Omaha System, to describe community-level strengths. The objectives were: (a) to evaluate the feasibility of using the Omaha System at the community level to reflect community strengths and (b) to describe preliminary results of community strengths observations across international settings. Design and Sample: A descriptive qualitative design was used. The sample was a data set of 284 windshield surveys by nursing students in 5 countries: Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Turkey, and the United States. Measures: An online survey included a checklist and open-ended questions on community strengths for 11 concepts of the Omaha System Problem Classification Scheme: Income, Sanitation, Residence, Neighborhood/workplace safety, Communication with community resources, Social contact, Interpersonal relationship, Spirituality, Nutrition, Substance use, and Health care supervision. Themes were derived through content analysis of responses to the open-ended questions. Results: Feasibility was demonstrated: Students were able to use the Omaha System terms and collect data on strengths. Common themes were described among the five countries. Conclusions: The Omaha System appears to be useful in documenting community-level strengths. Themes and exemplar quotes provide a first step in developing operational definitions of strengths at a more granular level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-253
Number of pages9
JournalPublic Health Nursing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019



  • Omaha system
  • community assessment
  • community strengths
  • international cooperation
  • qualitative research
  • standardized terminology

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Cite this

Kerr, M. J., Gargantua-Aguila, S. D. R., Glavin, K., Honey, M. L. L., Nahcivan, N. O., Secginli, S., Martin, K. S., & Monsen, K. A. (2019). Feasibility of describing community strengths relative to Omaha system concepts. Public Health Nursing, 36(2), 245-253. https://doi.org/10.1111/phn.12558