Policies and Handbooks

At George Washington University, we uphold our community of faculty, staff and more than 23,000 students to a code of conduct. These policies and handbooks ensure a healthy and productive environment for all. 


Students may refer to the Undergraduate Student Handbook or the Graduate Student Handbook for a wealth of information on the different degree programs, requirements and resources.

Undergraduate Handbook   Graduate Handbook


All students are responsible for abiding by the Code of Student Conduct and the Code of Academic Integrity. It provides clarity on a variety of issues that affect students.

  • Sets minimum standards for academic student conduct
  • Defines the rights of students charged with an academic disciplinary violation
  • Lists the procedures for resolving academic disciplinary matters
  • Provides guidance for academic disciplinary sanctions
  • Addresses other issues regarding academic student conduct

All students — undergraduate and graduate, professional full-time and part-time — must be familiar with and abide by the provisions of the Code of Academic Integrity. For a full description of university policies, procedures, responsibilities and rights, please review the GW Bulletin which includes the Guide to Student Rights and Responsibilities. In this guide, you’ll find a variety of important topics ranging from classroom conduct to campus security.

Accommodations for Disabilities

Any need for special accommodations must be addressed specifically by the student with the Disability Support Services division at GW. Only Disability Support Services can recommend accommodations or state the specific accommodations that faculty members will provide. Reasonable accommodations will be made for applicants with disabilities who can meet the requirements noted above after review by the Disability Support Services.

These accommodations must be accomplished without altering the essential requirements of the nursing curriculum. Inability to meet the technical standards throughout program enrollment will necessitate further review, which may delay or terminate progression and/or enrollment in the program. Coursework undertaken prior to a student’s application for and approval of special accommodation is not subject to special accommodation. Such accommodations are not applied retroactively to completion of that process.

Technical Standards for Nursing Students

We are committed to preparing knowledgeable and ethical nurses and nurse practitioners. These individuals must be able to perform the necessary procedures to provide high-quality care for patients across a variety of practice environments. Students at all levels are required to master the essential competencies for practice as enumerated via the relevant professional national standards. Students must also have sufficient abilities in communication, observation, motor function, cognitive function, and behavioral and social attributes.


Communication includes the ability to speak, hear, read, write and document sufficiently to achieve an accurate and adequate exchange of information with other health care professionals, patients and their support network. Students must be able to perform these tasks:

  • Have the ability to receive and process auditory information, and speak and write clearly in English in all communications with patients, their families and other health care professionals.
  • Communicate effectively by writing, using a telephone and electronic media.
  • Communicate sensitively with patients and their families.
  • Be able to read sufficiently to comprehend complex medical literature and convey this information in easily understood terms.
  • Perceive forms of non-verbal interpersonal communication, including facial expressions, body language and effect.

Observation includes the ability to perceive, using senses and mental abilities, the information presented in both educational and clinical settings. Educational information will be presented through lectures, small groups and one-on-one interactions, as well as in written and audiovisual materials. Students must be able to perform these tasks:

  • Possess sufficient sensory (visual, auditory, tactile and olfactory) and mental abilities to accurately perceive information provided in educational settings. This includes written and audiovisual materials, diagnostic images, microscopic images and physical examination.
  • Accurately observe (using visual, auditory, tactile or olfactory senses) a patient’s medical condition, including patient affect, up close and at a distance, with and without medical instrumentation. This includes but is not limited to direct physical examination, radiography, electrocardiograms, sonograms, monitors and other visual imagery.
  • Accurately perceive pain, pressure, temperature, position, vibration and movement relevant to the patient’s condition.
Motor Function

Motor Function includes the ability to physically move in close proximity at multiple heights around the patient in order to fully employ tactile and other sensory capacities accurately. Students must be able to perform these tasks:

  • Possess sufficient motor function to directly perform palpation, percussion, auscultation and other diagnostic and therapeutic maneuvers.
  • Execute movements reasonably required to provide general and emergency medical care to patients. These skills require coordination of fine and gross motor skills, equilibrium and functional sensation.
  • Possess the capability to manipulate equipment and instruments for the performance of basic examination and laboratory tests and procedures.
  • Move oneself from one setting to another and negotiate the patient care environment in a timely fashion that is safe for both patient and student.
  • Lift at least 10 pounds, sufficient to assess a newborn, lift or provide a range of motion to a patient’s extremity, or ascertain patient’s motor reflexes
  • Possess sufficient physical stamina to perform the rigorous course of didactic and clinical study. This includes long periods of sitting, standing and moving required for the classroom, laboratory and clinical experiences. Programs requiring lengthy numbers of clinical hours expect students to work 8- to 12-hour stretches with patients with minimal periods of inactivity.
Cognitive Function

Cognitive Function includes the capacity to seek and process information sensitively, accurately and efficiently from patients, their families and other health care providers. Students must be able to perform these tasks:

  • Retain and recall through short- and long-term memory the details of patients’ history, physical and presenting complaint.
  • Process and synthesize patient information in an accurate and timely way to assess, diagnose, identify and initiate next steps in the patient’s treatment and management.
  • Demonstrate cognitive and problem-solving skills in an efficient and timely manner to meet program competencies. Problem-solving is one of the key skills demanded of nurses and advanced practice nurses. It includes the following abilities:
    • Comprehension of visual-spatial relationships.
    • Reading and understanding the medical literature and the patient’s chart.
    • Learning, measuring, calculating, retrieving, prioritizing, analyzing, organizing, assimilating, integrating and synthesizing technically detailed and complex information and applying this information appropriately.
Behavioral and Social Attributes

Behavioral and Social Attributes includes sufficient awareness, insight and emotional self-control to place the needs of the patients and their families first. The student must:

  • Possess sufficient emotional stability for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, and the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to both didactic studies and patient care.
  • Develop mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients and their family members, staff and colleagues.
  • Work collaboratively and effectively as a small group member, as a health team member and as a team leader.
  • Possess sufficient interpersonal skills to relate to people across societal differences, including all ethnic backgrounds, economic levels, sexual orientation and belief systems.
  • Possess compassion and concern for others; interest in and motivation for service, and integrity.
  • Put the needs of patients, their family and the health care team ahead of their own needs, values and beliefs.
  • Function effectively under mentally and emotionally stressful situations.
  • Adapt to changing environments, display flexibility and function in the face of uncertainty inherent in the clinical problems of many patients.
  • Behave in an ethical and moral manner consistent with professional values, rather than allowing their own needs and beliefs to restrict the patient’s options.
  • Accept constructive criticism and respond appropriately by modifying behavior.

As a GW student, it’s important to know what GW expects of you and what you can expect from GW. The Code of Academic Integrity and the Code of Student Conduct provide some of the expectations for GW students’ behavior in class, outside of class, off-campus, and online. Guides on our website provide an overview of the Codes of Student Conduct and of Academic Integrity. We encourage students to read the Codes in their entirety. In the event any guidance on this website is inconsistent or in conflict with those Codes, the appropriate Code will apply.

View Resources on Student Conduct