School of Nursing: Technical Standards For Admission, Progression And Graduation

Unit Standard


School of Nursing: Technical Standards For Admission, Progression And Graduation



To be evaluated at next review.


To be evaluated at next review.


Students with Disabilities

Consistent with its mission and philosophy, the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is committed to providing educational opportunities to students with disabilities. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the school provides reasonable accommodations to otherwise qualified students with disabilities. The decision regarding appropriate accommodations will be based on the specifics of each case.

Students who seek reasonable accommodations for disabilities must contact Learning Disabilities Services (learning disabilities or ADHD) or the Department of Disability Services (all other disabilities). These offices will determine a student's eligibility for, and recommend appropriate accommodations and services. Learning Disabilities Services is located in 315 Wilson Library and can be contacted by telephone at (919) 962-7227 or on the Web at The department of Disability Services is located in the basement of Steele Building and can be contacted by telephone at (919) 962-8300 (V/TTD); by e-mail at; or on the Web at

Technical Standards for Admission, Progression, and Graduation

Technical Standards: Personal Attributes and Capabilities Essential for Admission, Progression, and Graduation of UNC-CH Nursing Students.

The curricula leading to degrees in Nursing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing require students to engage in diverse and complex experiences directed at the acquisition and practice of essential nursing skills and functions. Unique combinations of cognitive, affective, psychomotor, physical and social abilities are required to perform these functions satisfactorily. In addition to being essential to the successful completion of the requirements of a nursing degree, these skills and functions are necessary to ensure the health and safety of patients, fellow students, faculty and other health care providers.

The following technical standards describe the non-academic qualifications, required in addition to academic qualifications, which the School considers essential for entrance to, continuation in, and graduation from a UNC-CH School of Nursing degree program. Candidates for nursing degrees, with the exception noted for selected graduate programs, must be able to meet these minimum standards, with or without reasonable accommodation, for successful completion of degree requirements.

Selected Graduate Programs. In graduate programs without clinical components, or involving no direct client care, the program executive committee governing the specific degree program may modify the standards solely as they pertain to clinical practice.


A. Visual, Auditory and Tactile Abilities
  • Sufficient abilities to allow him/her to gather data from written reference materials, oral presentations, demonstrations, and observations of a patient and his/her environment.
  • Sufficient ability to perform health assessments and interventions; observe diagnostic specimens; and obtain information from digital, analog, and waveform representation of physiologic phenomena to determine a client's condition.

Examples of relevant activities:

  1. Visual acuity sufficient to draw up the correct quantity of medication in a syringe, or detect changes in skin color or condition.
  2. Auditory ability sufficient to detect sounds related to bodily functions using a stethoscope, or to detect audible alarms generated by mechanical systems used to monitor patient physiological status.
  3. Tactile abilities sufficient to detect unsafe temperature levels in heat producing devices used in patient care or detect anatomical abnormalities such as edema or small nodules.
B. Communication Abilities
  • Ability to communicate with accuracy, clarity and efficiency with patients, their families, and other members of the health care team (including spoken and non-verbal communications, such as interpretation of facial expressions, affect and body language).
  • Required communication abilities include speech, hearing, reading, writing, language skills, and computer literacy.

Examples of relevant activities

  1. Abilities sufficient to give verbal directions to, or follow verbal directions from, other members of the health care team and to participate in health care team discussions of patient care.
  2. Ability sufficient to elicit and record information about health history, current health state or responses to treatment from patients or family members.
  3. Ability sufficient to convey information to clients and others as necessary to teach, direct and counsel individuals.
C. Motor Abilities
  • Sufficient motor function to execute movements required to provide general care and treatment to patients in all health care settings.
  • Required motor functions include gross and fine motor skills, physical endurance, physical strength and mobility to carry out nursing procedures; perform basic laboratory tests; and provide routine and emergency care and treatment to patients.

Examples of relevant activities:

  1. Fine motor skills sufficient to obtain assessment information by palpation, auscultation, percussion and other diagnostic maneuvers.
  2. Physical endurance sufficient to complete assigned periods of clinical practice.
  3. Mobility sufficient to carry out patient care procedures, such as tracheostomy care or performing emergency airway suctioning.
  4. Strength sufficient to carry out patient care procedures, such as assisting in the turning and lifting of patients.
D. Behavioral, Interpersonal, and Emotional Abilities
  • Ability to relate to colleagues, staff and patients with honesty, integrity, and non-discrimination.
  • Capacity for the development of a mature, sensitive and effective therapeutic relationship with clients.
  • Ability to work constructively in stressful and changing environments, with the ability to modify behavior in response to constructive criticism.
  • Capacity to demonstrate ethical behavior including adherence to the professional nursing and student honor codes.

Examples of relevant activities:

  1. Emotional skills sufficient to remain calm in an emergency situation.
  2. Interpersonal skills sufficient to communicate effectively with patients and families of diverse religious, cultural or social backgrounds.
  3. Behavioral skills sufficient to demonstrate the exercise of good judgment and prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of clients.
E. Cognitive, Conceptual, and Quantitative Abilities
  • Ability to read and understand written documents in English and solve problems involving measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis and synthesis.
  • Ability to gather data, develop a plan of action; establish priorities; and monitor treatment plans and modalities.
  • Ability to comprehend three-dimensional and spatial relationships.

Examples of relevant activities:

  1. Cognitive skills sufficient to calculate appropriate medication dosage given specific patient parameters.
  2. Conceptual ability sufficient to analyze and synthesize data and develop an appropriate plan of care.
  3. Quantitative ability sufficient to collect data, prioritize needs and anticipate reactions.
  4. Ability to comprehend spatial relationships adequate to properly administer IM injections, or assess wounds of varying depths.





Related Requirements


Contact Information

Primary Contact

Kacy McAdoo, Assistant Dean School of Nursing

Other Contacts


Important Dates

  • Effective Date and title of Approver: 5/7/2002 approved by the Administrative Council
Print Article


Article ID: 132434
Thu 4/8/21 9:31 PM
Sun 5/19/24 8:59 PM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
School of Nursing
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Assistant Dean - School of Nursing
Next Review
Date on which the next document review is due.
01/01/2019 12:00 AM
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
05/07/2002 12:00 AM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
05/07/2002 12:00 AM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
05/07/2002 12:00 AM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
05/07/2002 12:00 AM