The School of Nursing faculty has specified essential abilities (technical standards) critical to the success of students in any IU nursing program. Students must demonstrate these essential abilities to succeed in their program of study. Qualified applicants are expected to meet all admission criteria and matriculating students are expected to meet all progression criteria, as well as these essential abilities (technical standards) with or without reasonable accommodations.

Essential judgment skills to include: ability to identify, assess and comprehend conditions surrounding patient situations for the purpose of problem-solving around patient conditions and coming to appropriate conclusions and/or courses of action.

Essential physical/neurological functions to include: ability to use the senses of seeing, hearing, touch and smell to make correct judgments regarding patient conditions and meet physical expectations to perform required interventions for the purpose of demonstrating competence to safely engage in the practice of nursing. Behaviors that demonstrate essential neurological and physical functions include, but are not limited to observation, listening, understanding relationships, writing and psychomotor abilities consistent with course and program expectations.

Essential communications skills to include: ability to communicate effectively with fellow students, faculty, patients and all members of the health care team. Skills include verbal and written and nonverbal abilities as well as information technology skills consistent with effective communication.

Essential emotional coping skills: ability to demonstrate the mental health necessary to safely engage in the practice of nursing as determined by professional standards of practice.

Essential intellectual/conceptual skills to include: ability to measure, calculate, analyze, synthesize and evaluate to engage competently in the safe practice of nursing.

Other essential behavioral attitributes: ability to engage in activities consistent with safe nursing practice without demonstrated behaviors of addiction to abuse of or dependence on alcohol or other drugs that may impair behavior or judgment. The students must demonstrate responsibility and accountability for actions as a student in the School of Nursing and as a developing professional nurse consistent with accepted standards of practice.


  1. The essential abilities criteria will be included in the IU Southeast Bulletin and incorporated into informational packets given to students interested in the nursing program.
  2. Applicants accepting admission to the nursing program will be required to sign a letter of agreement that specified the essential abilities criteria. This agreement states they have read and understand that they will be expected to meet the essential abilities. Students questioning their ability to meet these essential abilities criteria will be encourages to address their inquiries with the Coordinator of Disabilities Services.
  3. Faculty have the responsibility to determine whether a student has demonstrated these essential abilities. Faculty have the right to request consultation from recognized experts as deemed appropriate.
  4. Students failing to meet these essential abilities, as determined by faculty, at any point in their academic program may have their progress interrupted until they have demonstrated their ability to meet these essential abilities within negotiated time frames.
  5. Students will be dismissed from their program of study if faculty determine that they are unable to meet these essential abilities even if reasonable accommodations are made.
  6. Students failing to demonstrate these essential abilities criteria, as determined by the facylty, may appeal this adverse determination in accordance with the Indiana University Southeast's appeal procedures.

Effective date: August 2004
Revised by Admission, Progression, Graduation Committee, December 7, 2009
Revised by Council of Nursing Faculty, December 12, 2009