Community is a concept in nursing which refers to a collection of people with some relationships or characteristics in a given location or environment. According to Shuster and Geoppinger (2008, p.32), community in health care is the focus on the collective or common good of a given population as opposed to an individual person in a given environment. On the other hand, aggregate is a concept or a term, which generalizes, compounds, or brings together the communities to form one larger single unit. It is therefore, a term used to refer to the collection of all the communities in a given place.
The two concepts to some extend seem similar despite their significant difference. One difference is that a community constitutes a small group of individuals in a given location while aggregate is a term that refers to the whole or have a wider array of communities. A community therefore, consists of a social group of a given size of people that are residing in a specific locality and share for instance same government and often have similar culture or historical backgrounds linked by similar or common policy and live within a particular geographical area and may not necessarily have similar interests (Baisch, 2009, p.2472). On the other hand, “an aggregate” results from a conjunction or a total summation of particular communities into one major group. Therefore, an aggregate population is a combination of various clusters of communities who make a whole mass. They possess similar or common characteristics, which bounds them together. Example of aggregates may be elderly and age as the common characteristic, patient suffering form mental impairments, the major characteristics being a disease condition and many other characteristics describing these aggregates. One can also view an aggregate as a community but to understand the concept vividly, aggregates are set up or verified by community health for the purposes of enhancing the delivery and administration of effective and more specific health care to cater for specific needs and requirements of each group.
All the communities in a country assembled and treated as a whole provides a good illustration of an aggregate for this case. One can identify an aggregate population by reviewing the existing information based on the parameters required for instance gender, age, common health problems among others. He/she then carries out an In-depth research to the identified population to identify the categories or the distribution of the population having same problems or ailments. Furthermore, he/she may gather information through a close observation and research of their characteristics in terms of similarities in their chronic illness, patterns of their sickness and their socio-economic class (Ervin, 2002, p.13). These factors or characteristics will help the health practitioners in identifying an extent an aggregate population covers. Some of the characteristics that assist medical practitioners in identification of these aggregates include the age, type of sickness, disease conditions, and nutritional status among other characteristics that enable them to administer effective medical services. These aggregate populations are described in terms of specific attributes they posses in general. Clark (2008, p.12) points out that practice and implementation of communities involves categorizing communities into small groups (aggregates) consisting of people with specific health needs for effective administration of the required care.
Baisch, J. (2009). Community health: An evolutionary concept analysis. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 65 (11), pp. 2464–2476.
Clark, M. (2008). Community health nursing: Advocacy for population health. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Ervin, N. (2002). Advanced community health-nursing practice. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall
Shuster, G. & Geoppinger, J. (2008). Chapter 15. Community as client: Assessment and analysis in Public Health Nursing. Missouri: Elsevier Inc.