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MSN Course Insight: Characteristics of a Successful Screening Process

Preview what Walden University students are learning with this required reading taken from the Master of Science in Nursing program course, Role of the Nurse in Global and Public Health.

Generally speaking, we probably all have a heightened risk for at least one health problem. Our genetics, lifestyle, environment, and even our relative wealth or poverty can play a role in whether or not we develop certain conditions. And yet, just because we may be at a heightened risk for a health problem doesn’t mean healthcare professionals can determine when we’ll become ill or even if we’ll become ill. That’s why health screenings are so important.

If you’re an RN, you’ve almost certainly participated in a health screening. For example, during flu season, you may have screened patients for influenza. If you work at or with a school, you may have screened students for conditions such as nearsightedness or scoliosis. If you work in a primary care clinic, you may have screened smokers for lung disease. Screenings are common and, usually, you simply follow the screening guidelines you’re provided.

MSN Course Insight: Characteristics of a Successful Screening Process

But what if there are no guidelines? This is a common situation whenever a new disease spreads or research uncovers a new risk factor for a condition. In such situations, nurse leaders help develop a screening process.

In Public Health Nursing: Population-Centered Health Care in the Community, Marcia Stanhope describes best practices for developing a screening program. Her recommendations are brief yet thorough and are studied by MSN nursing students in Walden University’s Master of Science in Nursing program. One of the resources in Walden’s MSN course Role of the Nurse in Global and Public Health, Stanhope’s guidelines lay out six characteristics of a successful screening program. In Stanhope’s words, a screening program should be:

  1. Valid (accurate): A high probability of correct classification of persons tested.
  2. Reliable (precise): Results consistent from place to place, time to time, and person to person.
  3. Capable of large group administration:
    Fast in both the administration of the test and the procurement of results.
    Inexpensive in both personnel required and materials and procedures used.
  4. Innocuous: Few, if any, side effects; minimally invasive test.
  5. High yield: Able to detect enough new cases to warrant the effort and expense (yield defined as the amount of previously unrecognized disease that is diagnosed and treated as a result of screening).
  6. Ethical and effective: Meets the desired public health goal with health benefits that outweigh any moral or ethical infringements.

How Can You Become a Nurse Leader?

If you want to learn more about developing screening programs and gain other skills you’ll need to take your career in nursing to a higher level, you should consider earning your MSN degree. Through a master’s in nursing program, like the one offered at Walden, you can study a wide range of topics and graduate with the knowledge you’ll need to become a nurse practitioner, nurse manager, or other type of nurse leader. And, thanks to online education, earning a master’s degree in nursing is more convenient than you might think.

Unlike at campus-based MSN programs, online MSN programs don’t require you to drive to school to attend classes. Instead, when you earn a master’s in nursing online, you can take your courses from home or anywhere else you have internet access. On top of that, the online learning format offered at nursing schools like Walden give you the freedom to choose when in the day you attend class, making it possible for you to continue working full time while you earn your degree.

The healthcare profession needs nurses capable of developing health screening guidelines and providing across-the-board leadership. By going from a BSN to MSN, you can become one of the leaders we need.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering an Master of Science in Nursing degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.

Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of a degree program.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,