Nursing Assignment: Assessment Tools and Diagnostic Tests

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 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.

Questions to be addressed in my paper:

1.   A description of how the assessment tool or diagnostic test you selected is used in health care.

2.   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.

3.   Summary with Conclusion




1)      2 pages (addressing the 4 questions above excluding the title page and reference page).

2)      Kindly follow APA format for the citation and references! References should be between the period of 2011 and 2016. Please utilize the references at least three below as much as possible and the rest from yours.

3)     Make headings for each question.




·         Ball, J. W., Dains, J. E., Flynn, J. A., Solomon, B. S., & Stewart, R. W. (2015). Seidel’s guide to physical examination (8th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby.

o    Chapter 2, “Cultural Competency” (pp. 21–29)

This chapter highlights the importance of cultural awareness when conducting health assessments. The authors explore the impact of culture on health beliefs and practices.

o    Chapter 3, “Examination Techniques and Equipment” (pp. 30-49)

This chapter explains the physical examination techniques of inspection, palpation, percussion, and auscultation. This chapter also explores special issues and equipment relevant to the physical exam process.

·         Dains, J. E., Baumann, L. C., & Scheibel, P. (2016). Advanced health assessment and clinical diagnosis in primary care (5th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby.

o    Chapter 1, “Clinical Reasoning, Differential Diagnosis, Evidence-Based Practice, and Symptom Analysis”

This chapter introduces the diagnostic process, which includes performing an analysis of the symptoms and then formulating and testing a hypothesis. The authors discuss how becoming an expert clinician takes time and practice in developing clinical judgment.

·         Sullivan , D. D. (2012). Guide to clinical documentation (2nd ed.). Philadelphia, PA: F. A. Davis.

o    Chapter 2, “The Comprehensive History and Physical Exam” (pp. 19–36)

o    Appendices A–E (pp. 225–236)

·         Laine, C. (2012). High-value testing begins with a few simple questions. Annals of Internal Medicine,156(2), 162–163.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

This article supplies a list of questions physicians should ask themselves before ordering tests. The authors provide general guidelines for maximizing the value received from testing.

·         Qaseem, A., Alguire, P., Dallas, P., Feinberg, L. E., Fitzgerald, F. T., Horwitch, C., & … Weinberger, S. (2012). Appropriate use of screening and diagnostic tests to foster high-value, cost-conscious care.Annals of Internal Medicine, 156(2), 147–150.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

This article highlights the increasing cost of health care and stresses the need for high-value and cost-conscious testing. The authors provide a list of 37 situations in which more testing provides no benefit or may be harmful.

·         Shaw, S. J., Huebner, C., Armin, J., Orzech, K., & Vivian, J. (2009). The role of culture in health literacy and chronic disease screening and management. Journal of Immigrant & Minority Health, 11(6), 460–467. 
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

This article examines cultural influences on health literacy, cancer screening, and chronic disease outcomes. The authors postulate that cultural beliefs about health and illness affect a patient’s ability to comprehend and follow a health care provider’s instructions.

·         Wians, F. H. (2009). Clinical laboratory tests: Which, why, and what do the results mean? LabMedicine, 40, 105–113. 
Retrieved from

This article analyzes the laboratory testing cycle and its impact on diagnostic decision making. This article also examines important diagnostic performance characteristics of laboratory tests, methods of calculating performance, and tools used to assess the diagnostic accuracy of a laboratory test.

  • January 29, 2018
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