Skip to Content    Skip to Footer
Three nursing students at bedside with patient simulator

Nursing RN Performance Standards

Nurses use cognitive, affective, sensory and psycho-motor domains in the performance of duties as a Registered Professional Nurse. Nursing students are held to the same standards that guide Nursing professionals when participating in clinical experiences.

Thus, performance standards have been developed which apply to all Nursing Courses in the EFSC Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) program. Students should personally determine whether they are able to comply with each of the standards.

Students who believe reasonable accommodations would allow them to meet the following standards should speak to the SAIL accessibility services office at EFSC. Determination will be made on an individual basis as to whether accommodations may be reasonably made. Students with disabilities are highly encouraged to work closely with the SAIL accessibility team to determine their appropriate course of action.

Affective Domain

Interpersonal Relationships: Must be able to interact meaningfully with individuals, families and groups; examples - establishing rapport with clients, families and colleagues, etc.

Socio-Cultural Sensitivity: Must be able to interact on a personal, intimate, and professional level with persons from all walks of life; examples - AIDS counseling, dealing with death and grieving, performing intimate procedures with respect for client, working with colleagues from different backgrounds, dealing with clients’ sexuality, etc.

Communication: Must have the potential to communicate effectively with healthcare team, clients, and families; examples - clear, audible, assertive communication (not passive/quiet or aggressive), effective listening skills, non-judgmental attitudes and non-verbal communication, etc.

Cognitive Domain

Computational Skills: Must have the cognitive ability to accurately calculate medication dosages; examples - conversions between various measurement systems, dosage calculations, IV rate calculations, titration of dosages based on body weight and other parameters, etc.

Language: Must be able to read, follow written and verbal instructions, and write using correct grammar, punctuation, & spelling. Examples - physicians orders, equipment manuals, charting, and evaluating client conditions using the chart, etc.

Critical Thinking: Must be able to display sound clinical judgment, reasoning, discernment, and decision-making abilities, even under extreme stress; examples - identifying cause-effect relationships, planning comprehensive care of the client, applying knowledge of the sciences such as anatomy & physiology in the nursing care of clients, assessment of vital signs in view of the clinical picture to determine whether physician should be notified of abnormal values, decisions related to whether to institute “as needed” orders, decisions regarding life-saving emergency care, etc.

Psycho-Motor Domain

Gross Motor Skills: Must have gross motor skills sufficient to give personal care, operate equipment, navigate hallways, unit stations, stairways and client rooms; examples - bed-making, bathing patients/clients, transferring clients from/to beds, stretchers, and wheelchairs, standing for long periods at a time, giving bedside care, moving in small spaces around beds and equipment, reaching above head to adjust monitors, squatting to empty catheter bags, lifting patients (or assisting to lift), able to lift a minimum of 40 LBS, etc.

Fine Motor Skills: 
Must have fine motor skills sufficient to perform specific nursing duties; examples - turning dials, opening/closing valves, moving switches, opening poll packages or bottles, keyboarding, writing, dressing changes, etc.

Must have stamina sufficient for sustained physically demanding activities; examples - CPR until relief is available, shift responsibilities with very little time to sit due to nature of duties and client needs, transferring patient/clients from one unit to another on bed or stretcher, assisting to evacuate patients in a fire or other disaster.

Sensory Domain

Tactile Abilities: Must be able to perform physical assessments and procedures which require touch; examples - feeling, identifying consistency, texture and borders of nodules or lesions, insertion of catheters into a vein that is palpable but not visible, identifying resistance when proceeding would pose a threat, etc.

Visual Abilities:
Must have adequate distance, close and peripheral vision, be able to identify colors and patterns and have adequate depth perception; examples - reading syringe calibrations, interpreting physician handwriting, observing patient responses, being aware of developments within unit, distinguishing colors and patterns in assessment (green sputum, reddened area of skin, lesions grouped in circular area), navigation of busy hallways with large equipment, etc.

Hearing Abilities: 
Must have hearing adequate for assessments and avoidance of danger for self and clients; examples - heart and lung sound auscultation, phone conversations, often with persons who speak English with an accent, high-pitched alarms on equipment signifying danger, being able to hear a client moan or call out, retching as if about to regurgitate, speaking in normal conversational tones, quiet voice, or loud voice, etc.


In addition, to the above-identified standards, nurses and nursing students must also be able to:

  • Tolerate tight, small places, face masks and other protective gear.
  • Endure exposure to Latex (those with allergies are at risk in Nursing), bleach and strong cleaning agents.
  • Function effectively with 30-minute meal breaks at unpredictable times, and as few as 2 breaks in an 8-hour shift, 3 in a 12-hour shift.
  • Function effectively during sustained stressful situations.
  • Adapt to duty times during evening, nights and weekends when necessary.