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The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

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Technical Standards for Admission, Progression and Graduation


The University of Tennessee – Knoxville College of Nursing strives to facilitate the development of professional nurses who will promote society’s health at the local, regional, national, and international levels.  To accomplish this goal, the designed curricula is to expose students to diverse and complex didactic and clinical experiences. This curriculum will build nursing knowledge, enhance nursing practice and patient safety, and foster professional integrity, which will ultimately improve the health outcomes of individuals, families, and communities across the continuum of care.  The program requires successful completion of the required didactic and clinical experiences. Due to the nature of the nursing profession as a whole, the technical standards listed below are skills and functions necessary to complete the program and to ensure the health and safety of patients, faculty, fellow students, and other health care providers.

In addition to academic qualifications, the University of Tennessee, College of Nursing considers specific technical standards essential for admission into the nursing program, progression into the nursing program, and graduation from any nursing degree program.  Successful completion of the nursing program requires an individual to be able to independently, with or without reasonable accommodation, meet the following technical standards.

Reasonable accommodations will be considered and provided on a case-by-case basis in accordance with applicable legal standards.  Any person who expects to need a reasonable accommodation should make  such a request as soon as possible, and preferably before beginning the program, as some desired accommodations may not be granted. (For example, a desired accommodation may not be granted if it is not considered reasonable, if it fundamentally alters the nature of the program as determined by the College of Nursing, or if it would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others.)  Students who seek disability accommodations should contact the Office of Disability Services at (865) 974-6087 or


I. Visual, Auditory and Tactile:
a. Ability to make accurate visual, auditory, and tactile observations to gather and then interpret data in the context of laboratory studies, medication administration, and patient care activities
b. Ability to document observations and maintain accurate records
• Visual: Correctly draw up medication in a syringe or detect changes in patient condition
• Auditory: Able to detect sounds using stethoscope or detect audible mechanical alarms noting change in patient’s physiological status
• Tactile: Able to detect temperature changes or anatomical abnormalities, such as edema, swelling, and nodules

II. Communication:
a. Ability to communicate both verbally and non-verbally with accuracy, clarity, efficiency, and effectiveness with patients, family members, and other members of the health care team
b. Effective communication through the English language, both written and spoken
c. Ability to maintain accurate patient records, present information in a professional/ logical manner, and provide patient instruction to effectively care for patients and families
• Able to give and follow verbal directions and participate in health care team discussions regarding patient care
• Able to elicit and record information about health history, current health state, or response to treatment
• Able to convey information to patients and others as needed to teach, direct, and counsel

III. Motor:
a. Ability to perform gross and fine motor movements with sufficient coordination to provide safe care and treatment to patients in all health care environments
b. Possess the physical endurance, strength, stamina, and mobility to meet demands associated with extended periods of standing, moving, and physical exertion required for satisfactory and safe performance in the lab, clinical, and classroom settings
c. Ability to respond promptly to urgent/emergent situations which may occur during clinical experiences and must not hinder the ability of other health care team members to provide prompt treatment and care to others
• Able to complete physical examination utilizing palpation, percussion, and auscultation
• Mobility sufficient to carry out assigned patient care procedures, such as dressing changes, sterile procedures, or tracheostomy care
• Physical endurance and stamina to complete 6, 8, 10, and 12 hour clinical days
• Strength and gross motor skills to safely assist with patient lifting, turning, and ambulating of patients

IV. Behavioral, Interpersonal, and Emotional:
a. Ability to work constructively in stressful and ever changing environments with ability to modify behavior in response to constructive criticism and to maintain high level of functioning despite difficult workloads and stressful situations
b. Capacity for the development of a mature, compassionate, respectful, sensitive, and effective therapeutic relationship with patients and families
c. Possess sufficient emotional and intellectual capacity to exercise good judgment and complete patient care responsibilities promptly and professionally
d. Capacity to demonstrate ethical behavior, including adherence to student and professional nurse codes of conduct
•  Able to remain emotionally calm during emergency and other stressful situations
•  Able to communicate effectively with others who possess diverse religious, cultural, or social backgrounds
•  Able to accept constructive feedback given from faculty and integrate personal change

V. Cognitive, Conceptual, and Quantitative:
a. Ability to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, and synthesize both subjective and objective information
b. Ability to gather information, develop a plan of action, establish priorities, monitor patient treatment plans, and use good judgment
c. Ability to learn effectively through different modalities, such as classroom instruction, preparation and presentation of written and oral reports both individually and with group, and use of computer-based technology
• Able to accurately calculate medication dosages given specific patient parameters
• Able to collect patient data, analyze, synthesize, prioritize, and develop an appropriate nursing plan of care


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Knoxville, Tennessee 37996 | 865-974-1000
The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System