Essential Functions

Essential functions define selected attributes and behaviors necessary for students to demonstrate in order to successfully complete their education and subsequently enter nursing practice. These essential functions are determined to be required for initial and continued enrollment in the College of Nursing. 

Students must be able to perform each of the following essential functions with or without reasonable accommodations:

  1. Critical thinking ability sufficient for clinical judgment. Examples (not all inclusive) of necessary activities include identifying cause-effect relationships in clinical and classroom situations; and developing nursing care plans.
  2. Interpersonal abilities sufficient to interact with individuals, families, and groups from various social, emotional, cultural and intellectual backgrounds. Examples (not all inclusive) include the ability to establish rapport with patients/clients and colleagues.
  3. Communication abilities sufficient for verbal and written interaction with others. Examples (not all inclusive) include explaining treatment procedures, initiating health teaching, and documenting and interpreting nursing actions and patient/client responses.
  4. Mobility abilities sufficient to move from room to room and maneuver in small spaces. Examples (not all inclusive) include moving around in clients' rooms, work spaces and treatment areas; and administering cardiopulmonary procedures.
  5. Gross and fine motor abilities sufficient for providing safe, effective nursing care. Examples (not all inclusive) include completing examinations/evaluations by writing, typing or demonstration; calibrating and using equipment; and positioning clients.
  6. Auditory ability sufficient to monitor and assess health needs. Examples (not all inclusive) include hearing basic conversation; monitoring alarms, emergency signals and auscultatory sounds; and hearing cries for help.
  7. Visual abilities sufficient for observation and assessment necessary in nursing care. Examples (not all inclusive) include reading documents such as patient charts and laboratory reports; reading calibrations on syringes, sphygmomanometers, and thermometers, and equipment outputs such as waves, printouts, and digital readings; and accurately observing client behaviors such as color changes and nonverbal communication.
  8. Tactile abilities sufficient for physical assessment. Examples (not all inclusive) include performing palpation, percussion, temperature changes, complete physical examinations and other activities related to therapeutic interventions.
  9. Behavioral/Social abilities sufficient to demonstrate emotional stability, maintenance or composure under stress, development of mature, empathetic and effective nurse-patient relationships and use of sound and unimpaired judgment in classroom and clinical activities.

These essential functions are not intended to be a complete listing of all nursing behaviors, but they are a sampling of the types of abilities needed by nursing students to meet program objectives and requirements. The College or its affiliated agencies may identify additional critical behaviors or abilities. The identified essential functions are revised and adopted from the Americans with Disabilities Act: Implications for Nursing Education (reapproved 2004) by the Southern Regional Education Board and the Council on Collegiate Education.

Computer Literacy

The College of Nursing acknowledges that health care delivery systems are evolving at an accelerated rate and becoming increasingly reliant on computer technology. Computer literacy is rapidly becoming a basic communication skill. Prior to enrolling in nursing courses, it is suggested that students familiarize themselves with basic computer skills. Students must be able to use a computer to log on to their email account to communicate with other students and faculty. They must be able to log on to the Internet and Angel to access class content, class announcements, class/clinical schedule changes, and perform Internet searches for health care related materials.