Essential Performance Standards for Admission and Progression in the School of Nursing Policy
According to The Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2008), learning how to providing safe and effective patient care is an integral aspect of nursing education. In order to prepare students to deliver safe and effective care in a clinical setting, the University of Lynchburg Department of Nursing provides students opportunity to practice their skills in a laboratory setting.
In addition to assuring patient safety, University of Lynchburg Department of Nursing is committed to promoting a safe learning environment (on campus or off campus). In order to provide a safe learning environment, students must be able to perform the duties of their roles in a safe, secure, productive, and effective manner and remain able to do so through the entire time they are engaged in learning activities. Students who are not able to do so may present a safety hazard to themselves, their peers, other healthcare providers and the public. For this reason, all students must be physically and mentally capable of safely performing the essential functions of his/her role.
Qualified applicants are admitted and permitted to progress without discrimination with regard to race, color, national origin or ancestry, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status or disability. Consistent with the Southern Regional Education Board’s recommendations for Nursing education, University of Lynchburg Department of Nursing defines a qualified individual with a disability as “one who with or without reasonable accommodations or modification, meets the program’s essential eligibility requirements” (Aiken, 2013). The University of Lynchburg Department of Nursing is committed to ensuring that otherwise qualified students with disabilities are given equal access through reasonable accommodations to its services and education for students with disabilities.
In addition to the standards of behavior and academic conduct set forth in the University of Lynchburg Hornet, the University of Lynchburg Essential Functions for the Student Nurse role are provided below.
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 auscultatory sounds using a stethoscope
- hear auditory signals from technical equipment
- hear cries for help
- communicate over the telephone
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
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
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 12 hours at a time.
A student must possess the behavioral and emotional health to fully utilize his or her intellectual abilities in order to exercise good judgment and meet their patient’s needs in a professional manner. The student must be able to:
- maintain professional, sensitive and empathetic therapeutic relationships with patients and their families.
- contribute in a positive manner to the team of healthcare providers caring for patients.
- examine and change his or her behavior when it interferes with a productive individual or team relationship while caring for patients.
- respond to highly stressful and/or unpredictable situations in an effective and professional manner.
- regulate himself or herself in order to understand when the student is functioning outside the limits of the student nurse role.
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
The University of Lynchburg Nursing Department’s approach to reasonable accommodations for disabilities is consistent with that of the University. The University of Lynchburg guarantees all students with documented disabilities equal access to an education – limited only by personal ability and not by disability, and supports students in obtaining reasonable accommodations. This is in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008.
The purpose of disability accommodations at the collegiate level is to provide equal access. Reasonable accommodations do not negate requirements for successful completion of a program, course, service and/or activity; adherence to generally acceptable standards of behavior; the University’s general and academic student rights and responsibilities; or adherence to faculty/staff directions and instructions.
No student will be excluded from any course or curriculum of study on the basis of disability if the student can perform the essential functions of the course or curriculum with reasonable accommodations. Some specific courses of study have rigorous technical standards which must be met by all students. Consideration of attendance and assignment extensions are made individually between the DSC and individual professors on a case-by-case basis using guidelines provided by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR). Attendance and other classroom policies, course schedule, assignment due dates, etc., should be provided to students in a written or electronic format.
The University of Lynchburg Disability Services Coordinator (DSC), located in Academic & Career Services (2nd floor of Hall Campus Center), works with eligible students with disabilities to make arrangements for appropriate and reasonable accommodations. Students registered with the DSC who receive letters outlining their approved accommodations are required arrange a meeting with each professor to discuss accommodations they wish to implement in individual courses. For information about requesting accommodations, please email Julia Timmons, , phone 434.544.8687 (undergraduate) or Jessica Guggenheimer, , phone 434.544.8152 (graduate).
Prospective students will be notified of the Essential Performance Standards for Admission and Progression in the Department of Nursing policy via the department’s website. Each semester the policy will be provided to current students via their University of Lynchburg Department of Nursing Student Handbook. It is the clinical faculty member’s responsibility to submit an Early Alert and notify the Director of Nursing if he or she has concerns about a student meeting these essential performance standards.
If it is determined that the student is not meeting these standards, the faculty member and the Director of Nursing will meet with the student in order to inform him or her that these standards are not being met. Written documentation will be presented to the student that includes the essential performance standards that are not being met, along with suggestions on how the student could improve their performance of these standards. Depending on the nature of the reason for failing to meet these standards, possible suggestions may include but are not limited to: seeking the assistance of the University’s Accessibility and Disability Resources Coordinator to obtain reasonable accommodations, recommending the student take a temporary leave and complete course requirements later (in the same semester or during a break) when the student is in a position to meet the essential performance standards or withdrawing from the program.
Aiken, E. (2013). The Americans with Disabilities Act: Implications for nursing education. Retrieved from http://www.sreb.org/page/1390/the_americans_with_disabilities_act.html.
American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2008). The essentials of baccalaureate education for professional nursing practice. Retrieved from http://www.aacn.nche.edu/education-resources/BaccEssentials08.pdf.