Nursing Policies

School of Health Sciences and Human Performance Policies

Nursing Program Essential Functions

The Nursing Program at Lynchburg College, in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), does not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities. A person qualified for the Nursing Program is one who has met academic standards and is able, with or without reasonable accommodation, to meet the essential functions of a registered nurse.

The essential functions below can help you make an informed decision regarding your choice of career. Other specific requirements and competencies are outlined in course syllabi and clinical performance tools.

Requests for Accommodation

If you believe that you will not be able to perform the essential functions below without reasonable accommodation, you should submit a written request for accommodation to the Dean of Health Sciences and Human Performance.

The request should be submitted prior to entry into a course for which you believe accommodations may be needed. The request will be reviewed by the Dean, nursing faculty, and appropriate college student support services staff and a decision will be made as to the reasonableness of the request.

The Nursing Program will promptly consider requests for accommodation that are received after the course begins; however, if you have to withdraw because you cannot reasonably be accommodated, the College guidelines concerning dropped courses will apply.

All students enrolled in any course will be required to meet the same standards as other students in the program with or without accommodation.

Essential Functions:


A student must possess auditory ability to monitor and assess health needs. This includes (but is not limited to) the ability to:

  • hear and interpret information a patient is communicating verbally
  • hear auscultory sounds using a stethoscope
  • hear auditory signals from technical equipment
  • hear cries for help
  • communicate over the telephone

Visual acuity

A student must possess visual ability sufficient for observation and assessment necessary to provide nursing care. This includes (but is not limited to) the ability to:

  • see drainage on dressings and drainage of body fluids
  • note fluid levels in collection devices, syringes, and infusion devices
  • read gauges, such as a sphygmomanometer, that monitor patient progress
  • see to administer treatments such as I.V. fluids and oxygen
  • observe changes in patient skin color
  • discriminate colors for diagnostic purposes
  • assess movements of patients
  • observe patient behavior, which is necessary in a rehabilitation or psychiatric setting


A student must possess tactile ability sufficient to perform a physical assessment of a patient and to perform procedures necessary for nursing care. This includes (but is not limited to) the ability to:

  • perform palpation and other functions necessary for a physical examination
  • assess texture, shape, size, temperature and vibration
  • perform therapeutic functions such as inserting a urinary catheter or I.V., changing dressings, and giving medications
  • collect specimens necessary for assessment of the patient

Motor function

A student must have sufficient motor function, neuromuscular strength, and coordination to effectively perform the activities required of a nurse. Examples include (but are not limited to) the ability to:

  • transfer clients from wheelchair to bed and from bed to stretcher
  • elicit information from clients using palpation, auscultation, and percussion
  • manipulate diagnostic instruments to adequately perform all aspects of a physical assessment
  • perform CPR
  • administer intravenous, intramuscular, subcutaneous, and oral medications
  • manipulate life support devices
  • apply pressure to stop bleeding
Gross and fine motor coordination

A student must have sufficient gross and fine motor coordination to:

  • move about in patient care environments
  • perform treatments and procedures
  • calibrate and use equipment


A student must have sufficient stamina to sit, stand, move, and tolerate physically taxing workloads in skills lab and health care environments for periods up to ten hours at a time.


A student must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with clients, family members, and other members of the health care team. This includes expressive and receptive modes of verbal, nonverbal and written communication. Examples include (but are not limited to) the ability to:

  • explain treatment procedures
  • initiate health teaching
  • document nursing assessment, nursing action, and client/family responses
  • read patient documentation and important medical literature
  • give an accurate report of patient information to other health care professionals and members of the client's health care team


A student must possess the ability to establish and maintain appropriate professional relationships. Factors included in this requirement are the ability to:

  • act ethically
  • exercise sound clinical judgment
  • be compassionate
  • develop mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with clients
  • complete all responsibilities attendant to the care of clients

Emotional health

A student must possess the emotional health required for full use of his or her intellectual abilities including the ability to:

  • prioritize competing demands
  • function in stressful circumstances
  • separate own needs and experiences in order to maintain objectivity and client-centered care
  • adjust to changing circumstances