The mission of the University of Kentucky College of Nursing is to foster health and well-being among the people of Kentucky, the region, and the world through collaborative relationships that support excellence in nursing education, research, practice and service in an ever-changing health care environment. The College of Nursing endeavors to be one of the nation’s top nursing programs among public research universities.
As the mission relates to education, graduates must demonstrate competencies in intellectual, social, and physical tasks that together represent the fundamentals of nursing.
Applicants and students are judged not only on their previous scholastic abilities and achievements, but also on their intellectual, emotional, and physical capacities to fulfill the requirements of a program of study.
Standards of admission are established by the faculty. Faculty groups recommend admission of applicants based on information contained in the application, and where applicable, letters of recommendation and personal interviews.
Nationally recognized organizations that accredit the College’s programs require a broad development of knowledge, specialized skills, and behaviors that prepare students to deliver general or advanced nursing care. This enables students to become self-directed learners, pursue further education, and deliver competent nursing care. Courses in nursing and the basic sciences provide a core of knowledge necessary for clinical practice.
Clinical courses include diverse experiences in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Together these lead to a level of competence expected for practice.
The following technical standards explain attributes necessary to complete the educational programs in nursing. These standards describe the essential functions students must demonstrate and are requirements for entrance, continuation, and graduation.
The College will consider any applicant who demonstrates the ability to perform, or to learn to perform, the skills listed here. An applicant is not required to disclose the nature of any disability, but an applicant with concerns about these technical requirements is strongly encouraged to discuss the issue with the director for the particular program. If appropriate, and upon request from the applicant, reasonable accommodations for a disability will be provided.
Certain chronic or recurrent illnesses and problems that could interfere with patient care or safety may be incompatible with nursing education or practice. Some illnesses may lead to a higher likelihood of student absences and should be carefully considered. Deficiencies in knowledge, judgment, integrity, or professional attitude may jeopardize patient care, and as a result become grounds for course failure and possible dismissal from a nursing program.
Students must possess aptitude and abilities in five areas: observation; communication; sensory and motor coordination and function; conceptualization, integration, and quantification; and behavioral and social skills, abilities, and aptitude.
Students must be able to observe a patient accurately, at a distance and close-up, noting nonverbal as well as verbal signals. Specific visual tasks include, but are not limited to: observing skin, anatomic structures and body movements; reading and understanding written and illustrated material; seeing class and clinical demonstrations; and discriminating numbers and patterns associated with patient care instruments and tests, such as sphygmomanometers, electrocardiograms, and urine output.
Students must be able to communicate quickly and effectively in oral and written English. They must be able to relate well to patients and their families, conveying compassion and empathy. They must be able to elicit information from patients; accurately describe changes in mood, activity, and posture; and perceive verbal and nonverbal cues. Students must learn to recognize and appropriately respond to emotions such as sadness, worry, fear, and anger in patients.
Specific requirements include, but are not limited to, the following: eliciting pain levels from patients, providing patient teaching, and reporting changes in patient states to other members of the health care team. Students must be able to read and record observations and plans legibly, efficiently, and accurately in documents such as the patient record. They must be able to prepare and convey concise, yet complete, summaries of encounters with patients. Students must be able to complete forms according to directions in a timely fashion.
Sensory and motor coordination and function
Students must have sufficient sensory and motor function to perform a physical examination using palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers. In general, this requires sufficient exteroceptive sense (touch, pain, temperature), proprioceptive sense (position, pressure, movement, stereognosis, vibration), physical strength, and motor function. Students should be able to execute sufficient motor skills to provide general care and to competently use patient care equipment, such as intravenous monitors, sterile equipment, catheters, etc.
They must respond promptly to emergencies and must not hinder the ability of coworkers to provide prompt treatment and care. Examples of emergency treatment reasonably required of nursing students include responding quickly when called, initiating appropriate therapeutic procedures, administering intravenous medication, applying pressure to stop bleeding, and performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Students must learn to perform basic laboratory tests, diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, and patient care procedures such as a finger stick, dressing change, and starting an intravenous line.
Conceptualization, integration, and quantification
These abilities include measuring, calculating, reasoning, analyzing, judging, recognizing numbers, and synthesizing. Problem solving – a critical skill demanded of nurses – requires these intellectual abilities and must be performed quickly, especially in emergency situations.
Students must learn to identify significant findings from patient history, physical exam, and laboratory data, and retain and recall information. They must be able to arrive at a nursing diagnosis, and plan and evaluate outcomes of care. Students must be able to provide reasoned explanations for their diagnoses, learn to prescribe therapies, which may include medications, and become skilled in managing time, people, and resources, according to their level of educational preparation.
The ability to collaborate with other health care professionals is essential, as is making use of new information from patients, families, peers, teachings, and literature. Discriminating judgments in patient assessment, care planning, and evaluating are mandatory. Students must be able to identify and communicate limits of their knowledge to others, when appropriate. Students must be able to interpret graphs describing relationships and to use other modes of data presentation.
Behavioral and social skills, abilities, and aptitude
Empathy, integrity, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation are personal qualities required of all nurses. They must possess the emotional health required for full use of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of responsibilities related to patient care, and the development of mature, culturally sensitive, and effective relationships with patients.
These attributes require the ability to be aware of, and appropriately react to, one’s own immediate emotional responses and biases. Students must be able to develop professional relationships with patients, providing comfort and reassurance, while protecting patient confidentiality. Students must have the endurance and strength to function effectively under stress and for extended periods.
Students must adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, and learn to function under conditions of uncertainty inherent in the clinical problems of many patients.
Students are expected to accept appropriate suggestions and criticisms, and respond by modifying behavior when necessary.