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 curriculum is designed 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 College of Nursing considers specific technical standards essential for admission, progression, 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—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 UT’s Student Disability Services at 865-974-6087 or

Specific Standards

I. Visual, Auditory and Tactile

  • 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
  • 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

  • Ability to communicate both verbally and nonverbally with accuracy, clarity, efficiency, and effectiveness with patients, family members, and other members of the health care team
  • Effective communication through the English language, both written and spoken
  • 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

  • Ability to perform gross and fine motor movements with sufficient coordination to provide safe care and treatment to patients in all health care environments
  • 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
  • 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 lifting, turning, and ambulating of patients