Technical Standards

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For students enrolled in the Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing (BSN), Masters of Nursing (MN) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs, technical standards are a necessary component to the complex discipline of nursing. Prospective students must demonstrate that they can meet these technical standards with or without reasonable accommodations and continue to do so throughout their program.

The School of Nursing is committed to equal access

The University of Minnesota, School of Nursing is committed to equal access for all persons in its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. The University abides by the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Minnesota Human Rights Act and other applicable statutes and regulations relating to equality of opportunity.

Unique combinations of cognitive, affective, psychomotor, physical, and social abilities are required

The School of Nursing curriculum, leading to the eligibility for licensure as a registered nurse or advanced nursing practice, requires students to engage in diverse, complex and specific experiences essential to the acquisition and practice of essential nursing skills and functions. Unique combinations of cognitive, affective, psychomotor, physical, and social abilities are required to satisfactorily perform these functions. These functions are essential to the successful completion of the requirements of School of Nursing degree programs (BSN, MN, DNP) and post graduate certificates, and necessary to ensure the health and safety of patients, self, faculty and other healthcare providers. As outlined below, these functions comprise the “Technical Standards” performance requirements for students.

The technical standards include, but are not limited to the following abilities:

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Motor Skills

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Behavioral/ Emotional

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Professional Conduct


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Motor skills

  • General: The student should have sufficient motor functions such that they are able to execute movements required to provide general care and treatment to patients in all health care settings.
  • Specific: It is required that a student possess the motor skills necessary for assessment and therapeutic procedures such as inspection, palpation, percussion, auscultation, and other diagnostic maneuvers and procedures. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and functional uses of the senses of touch, vision and hearing.
  • Specific:The student must be able to perform basic life support (including CPR), transfer and position patients, and position and re-position self around patients. The student must also be able to operate equipment typically found in the health care environment (IV pumps, cardiac monitor, and electric and manual blood pressure equipment, safe patient handling equipment, etc.).


  • General: The student must be able to acquire information presented through demonstration and experience in the basic and nursing sciences.
  • Specific: The student must be able to observe the patient accurately, at a distance and close at hand, and observe non-verbal communications when performing nursing assessments and interventions or administering medications. The student must be capable of perceiving the signs of disease and infection as manifested through physical examination. Such information may be derived from visual inspection and images of the body surfaces, palpable changes in various organs and tissues, and auditory information (patient voice, heart tones, bowel and lung sounds, etc.)



  • General: The student must have the ability to communicate effectively and sensitively with other students, faculty, staff, patients, family and other professionals.
  • Specific: The student must be able to express his or her ideas and feelings clearly and demonstrate a willingness and ability to give and receive feedback. The student must be able to convey or exchange information at a proficiency level to obtain a health history, identify problems presented, explain alternative solutions, and give directions during treatment and post-treatment. The student must be able to effectively communicate in English through verbal, written and electronic formats with the ability to retrieve information from various sources of literature and computerized data bases. The student must able to communicate verbally in English in classroom presentations, seminars, simulation, practicum sites, practicum conferences, and on-line formats. The student must be able to process and communicate information on the patient’s status with accuracy in a timely manner to members of the health care team. The appropriate communication may also rely on the student’s ability to make a correct judgment seeking supervision and consultation in a timely manner.


  • General: The student must be able to measure, calculate, reason, prioritize, analyze, integrate, synthesize information and act with integrity and judgment (ability to manage impulsivity). The student must have the ability to sustain attention and memory to maintain patient safety.
  • Specific: The student must be able to read and comprehend extensive written materials. The student must also be able to evaluate and apply information and engage in critical thinking in the classroom, lab and clinical setting within the time constraints unique to each setting.


  • General: The student must possess the emotional health required for the utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the nursing care of patients and families.
  • Specific: The student must be able to maintain mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients, students, faculty, staff and other professionals under all circumstances, including highly stressful situations. They must have the emotional stability to function effectively under stress and to adapt to an environment that may change rapidly without warning and/or in unpredictable ways. The student must be able to experience empathy for the situations and circumstances of others and effectively communicate that empathy. They must know how their own values, attitudes, beliefs, emotions, and experiences affect their perceptions and relationships with others. The student must be able and willing to examine their behavior when it interferes with productive individual or team relationships. The student must possess skills and experience necessary for effective and harmonious relationships in diverse academic and work environments.
  • Specific: The student must be able to meet UMN School of Nursing attendance requirements. The student must be able to satisfy all requirements set forth by UMN/health care agency's affiliation agreements as well as any additional requirements of any clinical setting. The student must uphold professional nursing standards related to the student's scope of practice.

Professional Conduct

  • General: The student must possess the ability to reason morally and practice nursing in an ethical manner.
  • Specific: The student must be willing to learn and abide by professional standards of practice. They must possess attributes that include compassion, empathy, altruism, integrity, honesty, responsibility and tolerance. The student must be able to engage in patient care delivery in all settings and be able to deliver care to all patient populations including but not limited to children, adolescents, adults, individuals with disabilities, medically compromised patients and vulnerable adults.

Disability Resource Center

The University's mission is to provide optimal educational opportunities for all students, including those with disabilities. The University recognizes that reasonable accommodations may be necessary for students with disabilities to have access to campus programs and facilities. In general, University policy calls for accommodations to be made on an individualized and flexible basis for qualified students with disabilities. Students are responsible for seeking assistance at the University and making their needs known.

If you have questions or concerns about your ability to meet the technical standards with or without accommodations, or if you would like to arrange reasonable accommodations, you should contact the Disability Resource Center.

The Disability Resource Center (DRC) is a unit within the Office of Equity and Diversity and values disability as essential to our diverse community. The DRC arranges reasonable accommodations to reduce disability-related barriers to full access for students and works to balance the rights and responsibilities of the student with the rights and responsibilities of the University.

The Disability Resource Center has a health sciences Liaison. The DRC liaison provides direct assistance such as securing documentation of disability conditions, determining and implementing reasonable accommodations, referral, and consultation for enrolled and prospective students. The liaison also provides consultation and training for faculty and staff to ensure access to their programs, facilities and services. All services are confidential and free. For more information, or to arrange reasonable accommodations, contact the DRC health sciences Liaisons in the McNamara Alumni Center, Suite 180, (612) 626-1333 (voice or TTY).