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Technical and Academic Standards for Nursing Students
The George Washington University is committed to preparing knowledgeable, safe and ethical nurses and nurse practitioners who are able to think critically. These individuals must be able to perform the necessary skills to provide high quality effective and efficient care for patients in a rapidly evolving health care system across a variety of practice environments. Students atall levels are required to master the essential competencies for practice as enumerated via the relevant professional national standards. In addition, all students must have sufficient capabilities and abilities in the following: Communication, Observation, Motor/tactile Function, Cognitive/Intellectual 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 healthcare professionals, patients and their support network. The student must:
- 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 healthcare professionals.
- Be able to communicate effectively through written, phone and electronic media.
- Be able to communicate sensitively with patients and their families.
- Be able to read sufficiently to comprehend complex medical literature, and convey this information in easy to understand terms.
- Possess the ability to perceive forms of non-verbal interpersonal communications including facial expressions, body language, and affect.
Observation includes the ability to perceive, using senses and mental abilities, 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. The student must:
- Possess sufficient sensory (visual, auditory, tactile, and olfactory) and mental abilities to accurately perceive information provided in the educational settings. This includes written and audiovisual materials, diagnostic images, microscopic images and physical examination.
- Be able to accurately observe (using visual, auditory, tactile, and/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 graphic images.
- Be able to accurately perceive pain, pressure, temperature, position, vibration and movement relevant to the patient’s condition.
Motor/Tactile 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. The student must:
- Possess sufficient motor function to directly perform palpation, percussion, auscultation, and other diagnostic and therapeutic maneuvers.
- Be able to 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.
- Be able to 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.
- Be able to lift a minimum of 10 pounds, sufficient to assess a newborn, lift or provide 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 which are required for classroom, laboratory, and clinical experiences. Programs requiring lengthy numbers of clinical hours expect students to provide 8-12 hour stretches of time working with patients with minimal periods of inactivity.
Cognitive/Intellectual Function includes the capacity to seek and process information sensitively, accurately and efficiently from patients, their families and other health providers. The student must:
- Be able to retain and recall through short and long term memory the details of patients’ history, physical and presenting complaint.
- Possess the ability to 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 in order to meet the Program Competencies. Problem solving is one of the critical skills demanded of nurses and advanced practice registered 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 includes sufficient awareness, insight and emotional self-control to place the needs of the patients and their families first. The student must:
- Possess emotional stability for full utilization of her/his intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, and the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to both didactic studies and patient care.
- Be able to develop mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients and their family members, staff and colleagues.
- Demonstrate being able to 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 positively with people across society, 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.
- Be able to put the patient, their family and the health care team ahead of their own needs, values and beliefs to meet the patient’s beliefs, values, and preferences.
- Be able to function effectively under mentally and emotionally stressful situations.
- Demonstrate ability to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility, and function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients.
- Behave in an ethical and moral manner that is consistent with professional values, rather than allowing their own needs and beliefs to restrict the patient’s options.
- Be able to accept constructive criticism and appropriately respond through modification of her/his behavior.
Accommodations for disability: Reasonable accommodations will be made for applicants with disabilities who can meet the requirements noted above after review by the GW Office of Disabilities 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.
Any need for special accommodations must be addressed specifically by the student with the GW Office of Disability Services. Only the GW Office of Disability Services can recommend accommodations or state the specific accommodations that faculty members will provide. Coursework undertaken prior to the student’s application and approval for special accommodation is not subject to special accommodation. Such accommodations are not applied retroactive to completion of that process.