• receiver operating characteristic;
  • X-rays;
  • nurse practitioner;
  • casualty officer;
  • sensitivity;
  • specificity;
  • nursing diagnosis;
  • radiology;
  • accident and emergency

Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) is a method of assessing the sensitivity and specificity of a classification at a variety of thresholds. It allows a quantitative comparison of several classifiers. It was used in this study to compare doctors and nurses with respect to their ability to diagnose X-rays. X-ray interpretations were measured using a confidence rating scale, on 50 radiographs from a generated library of extremity X-rays following trauma. The catalogue of radiographs were selected from real cases of extremity trauma which were considered representative of typical accident and emergency case scenarios. The interpretations of doctors and nurse practitioners were compared with the gold standard of the consultant radiologist. No significant differences were seen between the two groups. This study is based on work done for a master's thesis by one of the authors (Overton) supervised by the other author.