Technical Standards

All undergraduate/pre-licensure nursing students at Binghamton University's Decker School of Nursing must be able to meet the following technical standards.

Observational Skills

An undergraduate/pre-licensure nursing student must be able to accurately and effectively:

  • Comprehend and interpret information gained through physiologic assessment

  • Detect changes in physiological systems

  • Interpret and process information in verbal, written and digital formats

  • Discern incremental gradations of various sizes — for example, those associated with equipment used for patient care, including (but not limited to):

    • Syringes

    • Glucometers

    • Thermometers

    • Oxygen flow meters

    • Sphygmomanometer

  • Discern and assess subtle changes in color — for example, skin and mucous membranes, bodily fluids and drainage, liquid medications

  • Detects differences between air and fluid within syringes, tubes, drains and more

  • Recognize and respond appropriately to changing environmental cues 

If a student's ability to observe or acquire information through sensory techniques is compromised, the student must clearly exhibit alternate means and/or abilities to acquire the essential information. It is the student's responsibility to meet with Binghamton University's Services for Students with Disabilities Office to determine and explore alternate means deemed reasonable, but it is the University's responsibility to provide the alternate means if it is reasonable and does not cause undue financial burden to the University.

Communication Skills

Matriculated undergraduate/pre-licensure nursing students must be able to accurately, effectively and sensitively communicate in English with instructors, patients, caregivers and other healthcare practitioners.

Necessary communications skills include (but aren't limited to): 

  • Perception of nonverbal cues 

  • Eliciting pertinent information regarding patient symptoms, needs, mood, activity and treatment responses

The undergraduate/pre-licensure nursing student must be able to accurately and effectively (in academic and simulated situations with instructors and actual patient-care situations):

  • Converse and communicate effectively with healthcare providers and patients of diverse backgrounds and cultures

  • Communicate with other healthcare professionals regarding all aspects of safe and effective patient care

  • Present in formal and informal settings before small and large groups in a clear, articulate and confident manner

  • Interpret verbal and nonverbal communication cues displayed by a patient, caregiver or health professional colleague

  • Communicate in multiple formats including face-to-face, electronic, written or verbal means — for example, on the telephone

  • Communicate in writing using descriptive, narrative and interpretative language

  • Interpret and deliver complex or technical information in an understandable manner to individuals who have physical, cognitive, language or other barriers, or do not have a background in or knowledge the health sciences

  • Elicit a medical and medication history, including (but not limited to):

    • Ability to clarify and condense the patient's primary problems

    • Ability to interpret the information obtained to engage/consult appropriately with the patient

    • Ability to develop an accurate patient-care plan

  • Reconcile provider and patient medication lists

  • Comprehend and document medical treatments and nursing interventions in a professionally written format that meets commonly accepted standards for exchange of information among healthcare professionals — for example, SOAP (subjective, objective, assessment and plan) notes

  • Possess awareness of demeanor and nonverbal communication in oneself and in others, and be able to adjust one's own behaviors as dictated by the situation

  • Engage in conversations with patients, caregivers and other healthcare professionals in noisy and complex environments

Behavioral and Social Attributes

Decker School of Nursing uses the American Nurses Association Code of Ethics as a guiding framework for professional behavior.

  • Students in the undergraduate/pre-licensure nursing program must act with integrity, concern for others and compassion.

  • They must be able to interact with faculty, patients and colleagues in a professional manner and must be able to function effectively and appropriately in difficult and stressful situations.

  • The student must demonstrate good judgment; prompt completion of all responsibilities involved in patient care; and the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients, family members and colleagues.

  • The student must be able to display flexibility and function in changing healthcare environments.

  • Interpersonal skills, collegiality and continued interest and motivation are personal qualities that are all essential requirements for progression in the undergraduate/pre-licensure nursing program.

Motor and Sensory Competency

Matriculated undergraduate/pre-licensure nursing students must demonstrate sufficient motor function, tactile ability and sensory abilities as required for effective participation in all classroom, laboratories, conferences, clinical settings and activities. Undergraduate/pre-licensure nursing students must be able to perform a physical assessment of their patients as is appropriate for the registered nurse.

An undergraduate/pre-licensure nursing student must be able to perform basic tasks involved in direct patient care.  A student must be able to accurately and effectively:

  • Demonstrate appropriate use and operation of equipment including (but not limited to):

    • Beds and call-bell systems

    • Code-cart emergency equipment

    • IV-medication administration pumps

    • Peak flow meters and other pulmonary devices

    • Glucose monitors and other point-of-care testing systems 

  • Use diagnostic equipment for basic patient assessment activities including, (but not limited to):

    • Stethoscopes

    • Sphygmomanometers

  • Document information in a legible manner in any required setting — for example, paper medical records

  • Use computer-based systems to enter and retrieve specific healthcare-related data

  • Demonstrate fine motor skills*, as may be required for (but not limited to): 

    • Handling of various forms of medications such as powders, tablets, liquids and more

    • Manipulation of a needle and syringe 

    • Insertion of IV catheters

    • Preparation and administration of parenteral and intravenous medications

  • Demonstrate sensory and gross motor skills* in the performance of patient assessment techniques including (but not limited to):

    • Palpation

    • Auscultation

    • Percussion

    • And provide emergency treatment to patients such as first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation

  • Demonstrate motor and cognitive skills to employ computer hardware and software programs

  • Understand and interpret patient profiles/charts — for example, patient records of disease state and treatment

  • Use technological hardware/software for patient identification

*The ability to use various types of diagnostic and patient-care equipment is essential to clinical education in the undergraduate/pre-licensure nursing program in the various settings that are required as part of the course of study and must be performed effectively with or without reasonable accommodations.

Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities

Demonstrated ability of intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative understanding is required for students in the undergraduate/pre-licensure nursing program.

Students must be able to exhibit fundamental problem solving, analytical reasoning and critical-thinking skills that are regularly demanded of the registered nurse. These skills must be performed in a timely fashion, with the use of good judgment, and must demonstrate the ability to adapt to new and changing environments and settings.

Candidates for admission must be able to demonstrate intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities, as evidenced by academic performance in prerequisite courses.