Technical standards are basic physical, cognitive, and psychosocial skills and abilities that are required for nursing practice. The following standards were developed to guide students to make an informed decision regarding nursing as a career. In order to complete the nursing curriculum and enter practice as a registered professional nurse, all students must possess abilities and skills in the areas of sensation, communication, motor function and behavioral proficiency.

The James Madison University School of Nursing strives to select diverse applicants who have the potential to become competent, client-centered, nurses. The accredited programs within the SON adhere to the current accreditation standards for nursing education. The practice of nursing occurs in complex and changing environments that require nurses to exercise clinical reasoning using knowledge, attitudes, skills, and behaviors within the context of client interactions. Within these guidelines, the SON has the responsibility for selecting and evaluating its students; designing, implementing, and evaluating its curriculum; and determining who should be awarded a degree. Likewise, the SON has a responsibility to the public that its graduates are competent and caring capable of doing work that benefits and does not harm their clients. Students who seek to obtain an accommodation or determine their eligibility for one should contact James Madison University’s Office of Disability Services.  They can be reached by email at or by phoning (540) 568-6705 (Voice/TDD), (540) 568-7099 (FAX). Additional information can be found on their website at

It is important that students admitted to our programs possess the intelligence, integrity, compassion, humanitarian concern, and physical and emotional capacity necessary to practice nursing in a variety of settings. Admission and retention decisions are based on multiple factors including satisfactory academic achievement, as well as the candidate’s ability to demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and attitudes for graduation, and licensure or certification.

In order to successfully complete programs within the SON and meet the requirements to practice nursing, students must be able to meet all technical standards with or without the use of accommodations.  

Communication: Prospective and current students must possess communication skills that allow them to:

  • Communicate effectively and espectfully with people verbally and nonverbally, in writing, and within a variety of electronic and virtual formats.
  • Accurately perceive verbal and nonverbal communications from others within a variety of academic, community, educational, and clinical environments.
  • Communicate sensitively and flexibly with others, taking into consideration development, cultural values, and diverse abilities of communication partner(s).
  • Be proficient in written and spoken English.
  • Adequately convey written information to meet curricular, clinical, and scholarly demands including but not limited to clinical documentation, evaluation/outcome data, and written reports.
  • Access and comprehend information from images, electronic and written materials to meet academic and clinical demands, including but not limited to academic resources, medical records, standardized assessments, and clinical reports.

Cognition: Prospective and current students must use cognitive skills to:

  • Demonstrate effective critical thinking skills in order to safely and effectively direct the nursing process.
  • Identify salient information, recognize patterns and deviations from patterns in order to effectively recognize, define and address clinical problems.
  • Comprehend, retain, recall, integrate, assimilate, infer, analyze, evaluate, and apply information from diverse sources of information in order to conduct all steps of the practice of nursing.
  • Generate discipline-specific documents, clinical reports, and scholarly works.
  • Critically analyze and apply data from written scenarios and live encounters into evaluation and intervention processes.
  • Evaluate safety, and create and maintain safe environments during practice of nursing while anticipating potential risks and safety hazards in environments, and designing strategies to minimize potential for harm.
  • Take initiative to flexibly, effectively, and efficiently solve problems.
  • Demonstrate self-awareness in order to monitor and evaluate one’s own knowledge and skills.

Social, Emotional, Behavioral and Self-regulation Skills: Prospective and current students must use social, emotional, behavioral and self-regulation skills to:

  • Demonstrate one’s composure in noisy, malodorous, or visually complex, emotionally charged, and intense situations to maintain a safe and therapeutic environment.
  • Demonstrate self-care and personal hygiene routines.
  • Demonstrate self-regulation in the context of receiving feedback regarding areas for improvement.
  • Demonstrate awareness of, and attend and respond to the needs of others effectively, compassionately and respectfully in order to establish and maintain therapeutic relationships with clients.
  • Communicate professionally with peers, faculty, interprofessional team, clients, their families and the general public.
  • Demonstrate the flexibility and adaptability within dynamic clinical, professional, and academic contexts.
  • Manage time effectively in order to complete professional and technical responsibilities within time constraints.
  • Demonstrate personal and professional integrity as well as commitment to uphold professional ethics and codes of conduct that protect clients and the public.

Ethical Behavior and Adherence to Professional Codes of Conduct - Prospective and current students must:

  • Adhere to professional codes of conduct and codes of ethics set forth by professional associations such as the American Nurses Association and state regulatory boards.
  • Comply with university, college, graduate school (if applicable), SON, and program-specific administrative, legal, and regulatory policies and procedures

Sensorimotor - Prospective and current nursing students must be able to:

  • Access data from diagnostic instruments, standardized assessments, and evaluations (includes but not limited to clinical observations, text, numbers, tables, graphs, images).
  • Use vision, auditory, olfactory and/or tactile information to identify anatomical structures and functions on humans, anatomical models, and environmental features.
  • Observe clients and peers in order to assess health status and to perform evaluation and intervention processes.
  • Demonstrate sufficient postural control, neuromuscular function, strength, coordination and endurance to perform evaluations and interventions accurately, safely, and effectively in classroom, community, and clinical environments during a full work day. This includes fine and gross motor functions needed to safely operate equipment, position clients for treatment, and demonstrate desired actions for educational purposes.
  • Respond to requests for help and emergency codes in a timely manner and to perform procedures such as CPR when required.
  • Safely navigate academic, clinical, and community environments. This includes the ability to maneuver in small places while safely guiding clients and their assistive devices when necessary.
  • Demonstrate sufficient fine motor function to perform nursing related skills and produce legible and accurate documentation of reports, charting, scheduling, daily correspondence, and presentations.

James Madison University and the SON will provide reasonable accommodations to otherwise qualified students with properly documented disabilities who meet the minimum SON requirements. Reasonable accommodations will be provided as needed to facilitate a student’s progress in learning, performing, and satisfying the essential functions presented here.

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