Which factors affect the validity and reliability of different assessment tools and diagnostic tests?

When seeking to identify a patient’s health condition, advanced practice nurses can use a diverse selection of diagnostic tests and assessment tools; however, different factors affect the validity and reliability of the results produced by these tests or tools. Nurses must be aware of these factors in order to select the most appropriate test or tool and to accurately interpret the results.

In this Discussion, you will consider the validity and reliability of different assessment tools and diagnostic tests. You will explore issues such as sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values.

To prepare:

• Review this week’s Learning Resources and consider the factors that impact the validity and reliability of various assessment tools and diagnostic tests.

• Select one of the following assessment tools or diagnostic tests to explore for the purposes of this Discussion:

o Mammogram

o Physical tests for sore throat (inspecting the throat, palpating the head and neck lymph nodes, listening to breath sounds)

o Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test

o Dix-Hallpike test

o Body-mass index (BMI) using waist circumference for adults

• Search the Walden Library and credible sources for resources explaining the tool or test you selected. What is its purpose, how is it conducted, and what information does it gather?

• Examine the literature and resources you located for information about the validity and reliability of the test or tool you selected. What issues with sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values are related to the test or tool?

• Are there any controversies or issues related to any of these tests or tools?

• Consider any ethical dilemmas that could arise by using these tests or tools.

By Day 3

Post a description of how the assessment tool or diagnostic test you selected is used in health care. Based on your research, evaluate the test or the tool’s validity and reliability, and explain any issues with sensitivity, reliability, and predictive values. Include references in appropriate APA formatting.

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