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College of Nursing Technical Standards

Minimum Requirements for All Applicants

The College of Nursing (CON) adopted the following Technical Standards for admission, progression, and graduation of CON students in the Bachelor’s (BS) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs. These Standards also apply for Master’s (MS) programs and post-graduate certificate/special graduate students taking clinical/internship courses involving direct client care or indirect care. Candidates for these degrees must be able to meet these minimum Standards with or without a reasonable accommodation for successful completion of degree requirements. In graduate courses or programs without clinical/internship components or those involving no direct patient care, the Standards may be modified by the program office governing the specific degree program.​

The following Technical Standards delineate the attributes necessary to complete educational programs in Nursing. The CON will consider any applicant who demonstrates the ability to perform or learn to perform the skills listed here. An applicant with concerns about these Technical Standards is strongly encouraged to discuss the issue with the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Diversity and the Assistant Dean of Undergraduate or Graduate Programs as necessary. An applicant is not required to disclose the nature of any disability. If appropriate, and upon request from the applicant, reasonable accommodations for a disability may be provided through the Office of Disability Resources.​


  1. Observe and participate in nursing-centered lectures, demonstrations, research, and practice situations.
  2. Observe health assessments and interventions, diagnostic procedures, and waveform readings to determine a client’s condition and the effect of therapy.
  3. Demonstrate functional use of vision, hearing, tactile, and somatic senses.


  1. Communicate clearly and effectively in English with clients, faculty, instructors, and all members of the health care team in both clinical (on-site and off-site) and non-clinical settings; written and oral communication must use standard, professional medical terminology.
  2. Perceive nonverbal cues and communicate with clients clearly and effectively in English to elicit information regarding physical examination findings and symptoms, patient history, medication information, and emotional status and activity.
  3. Demonstrate communicative ability through speech, hearing, reading, writing, and computers.
  4. Report in English to members of the health care team; relay appropriate information to clients, as well as teach, explain, direct, and counsel a wide variety of individuals.
  5. Provide clear, direct communication in English during high-stress crisis/critical situations; demonstrate prompt, timely interpretation of pertinent patient data.
  6. Communicate online in a timely, professional manner (e.g., enter an electronic medical record immediately after the patient visit).

 Motor Abilities

  1. Demonstrate sufficient gross and fine motor skills, physical endurance, physical strength, mobility, vision, tactile abilities and sense of smell to carry out nursing procedures and to operate equipment safely.
  2. Elicit information from patients via procedures including, but not limited to, the following:
    • Tactile palpation.
    • Auscultation using a stethoscope.
    • Direct hand percussion.
    • Indirect percussion using a percussion hammer.
    • Other diagnostic maneuvers.
  3. Possess sufficient fine motor skills to be able to perform basic laboratory tests (e.g. using a glucometer, slide preparation) and perform basic patient care procedures (e.g. tracheostomy care, urinary catheterization, insertion of intravenous catheters, giving intramuscular and subcutaneous injections, and using oxygen/respiratory equipment).
  4. Execute motor movements reasonably required to provide routine care to patients. Examples of routine treatments required of student nurses to be done in a reasonable, timely fashion include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • Administration of scheduled and as-needed medications.
    • Obtainment of vital signs.
    • Performing a basic head-to-toe physical assessment.
    • Performing and assisting with activities of daily living.
  5. Execute motor movements reasonably required to provide emergency care to patients. Examples of emergency treatments required of student nurses to be done in a prompt, timely fashion include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
    • Administration of intravenous medications.
    • Application of pressure to stop bleeding.
    • Obtainment and interpretation of vital signs.
    • Opening of obstructed airways.
    • Notification of a change in patient status to the appropriate provider.

 Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities

  1. Read and understand written documents in English and solve problems involving measurement, calculation, reasoning, memory, analysis, and synthesis.
  2. Synthesize knowledge and integrate/prioritize all aspects of patient care in a prompt, timely fashion, including synthesis of objective and subjective findings and diagnostic studies in order to formulate and initiate plans of care integrating patient gender, age, religious considerations, and other preferences.
  3. Integrate concepts of pathophysiology, pharmacology, and fundamentals of nursing care in formulating a cohesive, multidisciplinary plan of care to achieve desired patient outcomes appropriate to each clinical setting.
  4. Use relevant information to inform nursing diagnoses, establish priorities, and monitor treatment plans and care modalities.
  5. Comprehend three-dimensional and spatial relationships.
  6. Expeditiously incorporate data from multiple patient sources (e.g., physical assessment, vital signs, lab values, interdisciplinary documentation) in providing appropriate, safe patient care.
  7. Recognize and respond rapidly and safely to changes in patient status based on a variety of sources such as physical assessment and pertinent laboratory findings; revise care to promote appropriate patient outcomes.

 Behavioral and Social Abilities

  1. Demonstrate full use of her/his intellectual abilities; display emotional stability in a broad range of contexts; exercise good judgment in both crisis and non-crisis situations; and promptly complete all responsibilities pertinent to the diagnosis and care of clients in a variety of settings.
  2. Develop mature, sensitive, and effective therapeutic relationships with clients in a variety of settings and from different cultures; provide exemplary patient care irrespective of patient race, ethnic group, age, gender, religious/political preference, ability to pay, gender, or sexual orientation.
  3. Provide nursing care and prioritize patient needs in diverse settings including acute care inpatient settings (e.g., medical-surgical, obstetrics, psychiatric, pediatric), outpatient settings (e.g., outpatient clinics, long-term care facilities, schools, homes) and the on-site environment.
  4. Tolerate physically and mentally taxing workloads and function effectively under stress.
  5. Exhibit a level of consciousness and attentiveness that guarantees patient safety; examples of unacceptable compromise include, but are not limited to, excessive somnolence, memory impairment, and/or an inability to retain pertinent details of a patient’s situation.
  6. Demonstrate ethical behavior, including adherence to the CON Professional Role Behaviors (PRB) and Student Honor and Conduct Code (SHCC).
  7. Students are not required to be involved with medical procedures that are in disagreement with individual attitudes and values. Nevertheless, students are required to learn about these procedures and participate in the professional care of the patient before and after such procedures.
  8. Although student safety is of utmost importance, students will be exposed to a variety of communicable pathogens and are expected to care for patients with communicable diseases using appropriate standard precautions and/or guidelines.

 Health-Related Requirements

  1. Provide current proof of having met all health-related requirements prior to participating in any clinical/internship activities; maintain all personal health records including current immunizations, CPR (American Heart Association BLS for Health Care Providers), OSHA, and HIPAA documentation as articulated by the clinical placement team.
  2. Complete a background check in compliance with the affiliation agreement for the clinical agency and community standards for disqualifying offenses (this may include a drug screen to comply with a clinical agency requirement and/or affiliation agreement).
  3. May be required to complete a physical exam in compliance with clinical agency affiliation agreement.
  4. RN-BS or graduate students must have evidence of an unencumbered Colorado nursing license (this includes evidence of having an unencumbered license from a compact state) or unencumbered nursing license from the state of residence. Dually Enrolled RN-BS students need to comply with the admission and progression requirements as outlined by the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs.
  5. Certain chronic or recurrent illnesses and problems that could interfere with patient care or safety may be incompatible with nursing education or practice; some illnesses may lead to a higher likelihood of student absence and should carefully be considered; deficiencies in knowledge, judgment, integrity or professional attitude may jeopardize patient care, and as a result could become grounds for course failure and possible dismissal from the CON.

Revised by SAC 9/23/08; Approved by General Faculty 9/29/08; Implemented 10/1/10; Updated and Effective 9/29/11​