Accommodations for Students with Disabilities - Essential Performance Functions | University of Portland

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities - Essential Performance Functions

In keeping with the central tenets of its mission – teaching and learning, faith and formation, and service and leadership – the University of Portland is committed to the full access and inclusion of all qualified students in its programs. It is the policy of the University to ensure that students with disabilities have equal opportunity for participation in the University’s academic programs and activities, in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act.

The School of Nursing & Health Innovations (UPSONHI) statement incorporates the University policy and is more specific to the technical standards of nursing in preparing students to fulfill the professional role of practicing nurses. These technical standards, which are outlined below, are designed to provide full access to learning opportunities for all students while respecting the first professional nursing duty to ensure patient safety and well-being while facilitating healing.

Essential Functions

Students must be able to perform or develop the essential functions with or without reasonable accommodation in order to fully participate in the University of Portland (UP) SONHI BSN program. Additionally, nursing students must be able to perform the essential functions in the classroom and in on-campus and off-campus professional practice experiences. 

These essential functions provide guidance for:

  • Potential students to decide whether to enter the UP SONHI BSN program;
  • Faculty to assess the student’s ability to progress in the program; and
  • UP's Accessible Education Services (AES) to work with students to determine the nature/extent of accommodation that might be necessary for equal participation in the program.

Students are responsible for requesting accommodations for a disability. Accommodations begin after the student’s plan is established in the AES office.

Essential Performance Functions (technical standards) for Admission to, Progression in, and Completion of the University of Portland BSN Program

General Abilities

  • Functional use of the senses of vision, touch, hearing, taste, and smell.
  • All data received by the senses must be integrated, analyzed, and synthesized in a consistent and accurate manner.
  • Able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand.
  • Able to perceive pain, pressure, temperature, position, equilibrium, and movement.


  • Uses senses to observe patient condition, make nursing diagnosis and administer appropriate care.

Cognitive/Intellectual/Observational Ability

  • Critical thinking ability.
  • Able to develop problem solving skills and demonstrate the ability to establish care plans and set priorities.
  • Able to measure, calculate, analyze, and synthesize objective and subjective data to make decisions that reflect consistent and thoughtful deliberation of the appropriate data.
  • Auditory, visual, and tactile ability sufficient to observe, assess, and monitor patient’s health status and health/illness alterations.
  • Functional use of the senses and sufficient motor capability to carry out necessary assessment activities.
  • Listen, speak, read, write, reason, and perform mathematical functions at a level which allows the student to process and understand the materials presented (in both a written and a verbal format) throughout the course of study, and to demonstrate competencies (in both a written and a verbal format).


  • Analyzes patient condition.
  • Responds with timely, precise, and appropriate action in an emergency.
  • Performs effectively under stress or in unusual situations.
  • Assesses and interprets heart and lung sounds.
  • Assesses and interprets skin condition.

Communication Ability 

  • Effectively and appropriately deliver and receive communication, both verbally and non-verbally.
  • Able to see, speak, hear, read, write, and effectively use the English language.
  • Able to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity, and posture, and perceive nonverbal communications.
  • Able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients and families.
  • Able to communicate effectively and efficiently through oral, written, and reading forms with all members of the health care team.


  • Documents nursing actions.
  • Communicates effectively with patients and other health care providers, one-to-one and in groups.
  • Demonstrates culturally sensitive verbal and nonverbal communication.

Motor Ability

  • Able to move between rooms and maneuver around essential medical equipment.
  • Gross and fine motor skills sufficient to safely and effectively perform holistic nursing care.
  • Psychomotor skills necessary to perform or assist with procedures, treatments, administration of medications, and emergency interventions.
  • Coordination of gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the sense of touch, hearing, and vision.
  • Able to maintain consciousness and equilibrium, and have the physical strength and stamina to perform satisfactorily in clinical nursing experiences.
  • Able to provide care for a full nursing shift of 12 hours and a professional practice experience. 
  • Meet the physical requirements of each clinical agency.


  • Provide for safe patient mobility including participation on a lift team and/or operating lift equipment in order to safely lift or transfer patients.
  • Successfully manipulates equipment necessary to provide nursing care.
  • Perform turning, transferring, transporting, and exercising patients.
  • Performs cardiopulmonary resuscitation, administer parenteral medication, apply pressure to stop bleeding, and suction of obstructed airways.
  • Protect patients in emergency situations such as in the event of a fire.
  • Provides nursing care for up to 12-hour shifts.

Social and Behavioral Attributes

  • Interpersonal abilities sufficient to interact with individuals, families, and groups from varied social, emotional, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds.
  • Able to maintain professional demeanor, communication, and respect for others at all times.
  • Capacity for self-reflection and change.
  • Emotional stability to fully utilize intellectual abilities, exercise sound judgment, complete assessment and intervention activities, and develop sensitive interpersonal relationships with patients, families, and others responsible for health care.
  • Able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility, and to learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients.
  • Demonstrate concern for others, integrity, accountability, interest, and motivation.


  • Demonstrates positive conflict resolution skills.
  • Receives and responds appropriately to constructive criticism.
  • Demonstrates caring and empathy for others.