Concept Mapping: An Innovative Tool to Teach Critical Community Health Nursing Using the Example of Population Health Promotion


  • Dr. Aliyah Dosani Mount Royal University
  • Dr. Candace Lind University of Calgary
  • Sylvia Loewen University of Calgary



Critical thinking, social justice, concept maps, community health nursing


Introduction: Concept mapping is a tool that is used to visualize complex factors and the links between them. While concept mapping is represented in community health practice and research literature, we found little information about using concept mapping in community health nursing education. Background: We developed an innovative concept map assignment to assist students to visualize complex inter-related factors and begin thinking about appropriate and relevant nursing interventions, using the Population Health Promotion Model (PHPM). Discussion: Concept maps enhanced the quality of meaningful teaching and learning at the university level, acting as both a learning and assessment strategy. Students exhibited critical thinking and drew conclusions that involved larger systemic issues such as social justice and health equity. Conclusion: Concept mapping is a powerful tool that facilitates and assesses authentic student learning. The concept map assignment was also an effective tool to help students grasp and apply the PHPM.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Dr. Aliyah Dosani, Mount Royal University

Aliyah Dosani, RN, BN, MPH, PhD  is a Professor in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Health, Community and Education at Mount Royal University in Calgary Alberta. She is also an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine, at University of Calgary in Calgary. She holds a PhD from the University of Calgary with a specialization in population/public health. Her nursing practice includes instructing students in the Bachelor of Nursing Program, population/public health, community health nursing, and legal issues in nursing. Her work focuses on maternal, newborn, and child health. Her research interests include working with at risk populations through community-based programs and interventions. She also shares a passion for global health issues. She is Lead Editor of Community Health Nursing: A Canadian Perspective.

Dr. Candace Lind, University of Calgary

Dr Candace Lind is an associate professor in the school of nursing at the University of Calgary. Candace’s program of research focuses on child and adolescent health promotion and encompasses research that is relationship-based, builds research capacity in non-academic researchers, informs interprofessional practice and policy development, and addresses the ways in which adolescents are conceptualized in society. Her work is informed by the attributes of social justice and the social determinants of health and she is particularly interested in strengths-building health promoting approaches to research. Her mission is to help create a healthier world for children and adolescents and improve their health outcomes (e.g. social, mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, cultural) through individual, community, systems and societal change.

Sylvia Loewen, University of Calgary

Sylvia Loewen, RN, MN is a senior lecturer at the University of Calgary's school of nursing. Sylvia Loewen’s expertise is the nursing care of the growing family in the community including health promotion and prevention, home care, public health nursing and management.  She developed, coordinates and teaches senior level child & youth focus theory and practice courses.  She also co-created an international community health placement in the Dominical Republic


All, A. C. & Havens, R. L. (1997). Cognitive/concept mapping: A teaching strategy for nursing. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 25, 1210-1219.

All, A. C. & Huycke, L. I. (2007). Serial concept maps: Tools for concept analysis. Journal of Nursing Education, 46(5), 217-224.

All, A. C., Huycke, L. I. & Fisher, M.J. (2003). Instructional tools for nursing education: concept maps. Nursing Education Perspectives, 24(6), 311- 317.

Aarons, G. A., Wells, R. S., Zagursky, K., Fettes, D. L., & Palinkas, L. A. (2009). Implementing evidence-based practice in community mental health agencies: A multiple stakeholder analysis. American Journal of Public Health, 99(11), 2087-2095.

Ausubel, D. (1968). Educational psychology: A cognitive view. New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.

Benach, J., Vives, A., Amable, M., Vanroelen, C., Tarafa, G., & Muntaner, C. (2014). Precarious employment: Understanding an emerging social determinant of health. Annual Review of Public Health, 35.

Bowleg, L. (2012). The problem with the phrase women and minorities: Intersectionality-an important theoretical framework for public health. American Journal of Public Health, 102(7), 1267-1273.

Burke, J. G., O'Campo, P., Peak, G. L., Gielen, A. C., McDonnell, K. A., & Trochim, W. M. (2005). An introduction to concept mapping as a participatory public health research method. Qualitative Health Research, 15(10), 1392-1410.

Canadian Nurses Association. (2007). The environment and health: An introduction for nurses. Retrieved from

Canadian Public Health Association. (2015). Global change and public health: Addressing the ecological determinants of health. Retrieved from

Castañeda, H., Holmes, S. M., Madrigal, D. S., Young, M. E. D., Beyeler, N., & Quesada, J. (2015). Immigration as a social determinant of health. Annual Review of Public Health, 36, 375-392.

Chircop, A. 2020.Ecological determinants of health and environmental health inequities. In. LL. Stamler, L, Yiu, A, Dosani, J. Etowa, & C. van Daalen-Smith, Community health nursing: A Canadian perspective (pp. 489-502). Toronto, ON: Pearson Canada, Inc.

Daley, B. (1996). Concept maps: Linking nursing theory to clinical practice. Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 27, 17-27.

Daley, B. J. & Torre, D. M. (2010). Concept maps in medical education: An analytical literature review. Medical Education, 44, 440-448.

Daley, B. J., Morgan, S., & Black Beman, S. (2016). Concept maps in nursing education: A historical literature review and research directions. Journal of Nursing Education, 55(11), 631-639.

Dosani, A., Etowa, J. & van Daalen-Smith. (2020). Critical community health nursing: An imperative. In L. L. Stamler, L. Yiu, A. Dosani, J. Etowa, & C. van Daalen-Smith. Community health nursing: A Canadian perspective (pp. 604-609). Toronto, ON: Pearson Canada Inc.

Flynn, L. (1999). Population health promotion model. Revised from original model developed by N. Hamilton and T. Bhatti, Health Promotion Development Division, Health Canada, 1996. Winnipeg, MB: Health Canada, Manitoba/Saskatchewan Region.

Garg, A., Sandel, M., Dworkin, P. H., Kahn, R. S., & Zuckerman, B. (2012). From medical home to health neighborhood: Transforming the medical into a community-based health neighborhood. The Journal of Pediatrics, 160(4), 535-536.

Greenwood, M., de Leeuw, S., Lindsay, N. M. & Reading, C. (Eds.). (2015). Determinants of Indigenous peoples' health in Canada: Beyond the social (2nd ed.). Toronto, ON: Canadian Scholars' Press.

Harrison, S., & Gibbons, C. (2013). Nursing student perceptions of concept maps: From theory to practice. Nursing Education Perspectives, 34(6), 395-399.

Hay, D., Kinchin, I., Lygo-Baker, S. (2008). Making learning visible: the role of concept mapping in higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 33(3), 295-311.

Health Canada (2013). Underlying premises and evidence table. What makes Canadians healthy or unhealthy? Ottawa, ON: Author. Retrieved from

Higgins, B., & Reid, H. (2017). Enhancing "conceptual teaching/learning" in a concept-based curriculum. Teaching and Learning in Nursing, 12(2), 95- 102.

Hinck, S. M., Webb, P, Sims-Giddens, S., Helton, C., Hope, K. L., Utley, R.,…Yarbrough, S., (2006). Student learning with concept mapping of care plans in community-based education. Journal of Professional Nursing, 22(1), 23-29.

Hunter Revell, S. M. (2012). Concept maps and nursing theory: A pedagogical approach. Nurse Educator, 37(3), 131-135.

Kaddoura, M., VanDyke, O., Cheng, B., & Shea-Foisy, K. (2016). Impact of concept mapping on the development of clinical judgment skills in nursing students. Teaching and Learning in Nursing, 11(3), 101-107.

Lee, W., Chiang, C., Liao, I., Lee, M., Chen, S., & Liang, T. (2012). The longitudinal effect of concept map teaching on critical thinking of nursing students. Nursing Education Today, 33(10), 1319-1223.

Lombardi, M. (2007). Authentic learning for the 21st century: An overview. Educause Learning Initiative, ELI Paper 1/2007. Retrieved from

Marmot, M. G., & Bell, R. G. (2011). Improving health: Social determinants and personal choice. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 40(1), S73- S77.

Martin, L. S. & Evans, D. P. (2015). Conflict as a Social Determinant of Health. SM Journal of Public Health and Epidemiology, 1(2), 1008.

Martyn, C. (2004). Politics as a determinant of health. British Medical Journal, 329(7480), 1423-1424.

McGibbon, E. & Lukeman, S. (2019). Critical social justice: The moral imperative for critical perspectives in nursing discourse. Witness: The Canadian Journal of Critical Nursing Discourse, 1(1), 1-10.

McGibbon, E., Mulaudzi, F. M., Didham, P., Barton, S., & Sochan, A. (2014). Toward decolonizing nursing: The colonization of nursing and strategies for increasing the counter‐narrative. Nursing Inquiry, 21(3), 179-191.

Mikkonen, J. & Raphael, D. (2010). Social determinants of health: The Canadian facts. Toronto: York University School of Health Policy and Management. Retrieved from

Nesbit, J. D. & Adesope, O. O. (2006). Learning with concept and knowledge maps: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 76(3), 413-448.

Novack, J. D. & Gowin, D. B. (1984). Learning how to learn. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.

Paradies, Y., Ben, J., Denson, N., Elias, A., Priest, N., Pieterse, A., ... & Gee, G. (2015). Racism as a determinant of health: A systematic review and meta- analysis. PloS one, 10(9), e0138511.

Pearce, N., & Davey Smith, G. (2003). Is social capital the key to inequalities in health? American Journal of Public Health, 93(1), 122-129.

Phillips, J. C. & Schofield, R. (2020). Nursing roles, functions, and practice settings. In L. L. Stamler, L. Yiu, A. Dosani, J. Etowa, & C. van Daalen-Smith. Community health nursing: A Canadian perspective (pp. 35-57). Toronto, ON: Pearson Canada Inc.

Public Health Agency of Canada. (2018). Social determinants of health and health inequalities. Retrieved from

Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) (2018). Key health inequities in Canada. Retrieved from

Reading, C., & Wein, F. (2013). Health equity and social determinants of Aboriginal peoples' health. Retrieved from

Ruiz-Primo, M. A. & Shavelson, R. J. (1996). Problems and issues in the use of concept maps in science assessment. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 33(6), 569-600.<569::AID-TEA1>3.0.CO;2-M

Schell, S. F., Luke, D. A., Schooley, M. W., Elliott, M. B., Herbers, S. H., Mueller, N. B., & Bunger, A. C. (2013). Public health program capacity for sustainability: A new framework. Implementation Science, 8(1), 15.

Vaughn, L. M., Jones, J. R., Booth, E., & Burke, J. G. (2017). Concept mapping methodology and community-engaged research: A perfect pairing. Evaluation and Program Planning, 60, 229-237.

World Health Organization (2008). Commission on the social determinants of health. Closing the gap in a generation: Health equity through action on the social determinants of health. Final report of the commission on social determinants of health. Geneva, CH: Author.

World Health Organization. (2011). Environmental health. Retrieved from

Yue, M., Zhang, M., Zhang, C., & Jin, C. (2017). The effectiveness of concept mapping on development of critical thinking in nursing education: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Nurse Education Today, 52, 87-94




How to Cite

Dosani, A., Lind, C., & Loewen, S. (2019). Concept Mapping: An Innovative Tool to Teach Critical Community Health Nursing Using the Example of Population Health Promotion . Witness: The Canadian Journal of Critical Nursing Discourse, 1(2), 30–48.