Technical Standards for School of Nursing Admission, Retention and Graduation

Duquesne University is committed to admitting qualified students without regard to race, color, age, national or ethnic origin, disability, sex, marital status, sexual orientation or religion. The mission of the School of Nursing is to prepare nurses, in an environment that values a culture of inclusion and openness, to practice professional nursing to meet the dynamic health care needs of individuals, families, groups and communities through a liberal education focused on the art and science of nursing providing ethical, holistic, culturally competent, and population-based care in a variety of health care settings.

In preparation for the professional nursing roles, nursing faculty expect the student to show emotional stability and demonstrate ability to meet the demands of a rigorous nursing program. Nursing program applicants and continuing students in the program must be able to meet the cognitive, affective and psychomotor requirements of the curriculum.

Specific essential abilities or technical standards have been identified by the School of Nursing in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the 2009 Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment (ADAAA). These technical standards include all of the nonacademic abilities essential for the delivery of safe, effective nursing care. These standards are designed to establish performance expectations that will enable students to deliver safe, effective care during clinical practice activities, with or without reasonable accommodations. Qualified applicants and students are expected to meet all admission criteria, as well as these technical standards with or without reasonable accommodations and to maintain related satisfactory demonstration of these standards for progression through the program. The School of Nursing is committed to enabling students with identified disabilities by reasonable means or accommodations to complete academic and experiential learning required for completion of all degree programs.

Therefore, any applicant or student who seeks accommodation at the time of admission or at any time during progression in the program will be evaluated and receive an assessment of the types of reasonable accommodation needed for the clinical practice component of the program.

The technical standards that have been identified as necessary to meet nursing curriculum technical standards requirements include, but are not necessarily limited to the following:

Necessary Technical Standards

General Abilities

To provide quality nursing care the student is expected to possess functional use of the senses of vision, touch, hearing, taste and smell so that data received by the senses can be integrated, analyzed and synthesized in a consistent and accurate manner. The student must be able to observe a client accurately at a distance and close at hand. In addition, the individual is expected to possess the ability to perceive pain, pressure, temperature, position, equilibrium and movement. A student must be able to respond promptly to urgent situations that may occur during clinical training activities and must not hinder the ability of other members of the health care team to provide prompt treatment and care to patients. Students are not permitted take substances that have the potential to slow their reaction time in providing prompt treatment and care to patients.

Observational Ability

The student is expected to be able to observe the client holistically to accurately assess any health/illness alterations. These include the ability to make accurate visual and acoustic observations and interpret them in the context of laboratory studies, medication administration and client care activities. Inherent in this observation process is the functional use of the senses and sufficient motor capability to carry out the necessary assessment activities.


The student is expected to be able to effectively communicate and receive communication, both verbally and non-verbally and to translate this information to others. This requires the ability to see, speak, hear, read, write, and effectively utilize the English language**. A student must be able to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity and posture, and perceive nonverbal communications as well as communicate effectively and sensitively with clients. Communication includes written and oral communication to clients, families and members of the health care team.

**English as a Second Language students will follow the University ESL policy. 

Motor Ability

The student is expected to be able to perform gross and fine motor movements required to provide holistic nursing care including the ability to perform inspection, palpation, percussion, auscultation and other diagnostic maneuvers as well as gross motor skills such as turning, transferring, transporting and exercising clients. The student is expected to have the psychomotor skills necessary to perform or assist with procedures, treatments, administration of medications and emergency interventions such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the administration of parenteral medication, the application of pressure to stop bleeding and the suctioning of obstructed airways. A student must also be able to protect the client in emergency situations such as fire. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and functional use of the sense of touch, hearing and vision. The student is expected to be able to maintain consciousness and equilibrium, and have the physical strength and stamina to perform satisfactorily in clinical nursing experiences.

Intellectual - Conceptual Ability

The student is expected to have the ability to develop and refine problem solving skills and demonstrate the ability to establish plans of care and set priorities. This includes the ability to measure, calculate, reason, analyze and synthesize objective as well as subjective data in a timely manner and make decisions that reflect consistent and thoughtful deliberation of the appropriate data. The student is expected to be able to 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 his or her course of study.

Behavioral/Social Attributes

The student is expected to demonstrate compassion, integrity, motivation, accountability, effective  interpersonal skills, and concern for others. The student is expected to have the emotional stability to fully utilize their intellectual abilities, exercise sound judgment, complete assessment and intervention activities, and develop sensitive interpersonal relationships with patients/clients, families and others  responsible for health care. Students are expected to have the ability to establish rapport and maintain sensitive and confidential interpersonal relationships with individuals, families and groups from diverse social, emotional, cultural and intellectual backgrounds. The student is expected to have the flexibility to function effectively under stress, including emergency situation; the individual is expected to be able to learn to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility, arrive on time and meet the demands for timely performance of duties, accept and integrate constructive criticism given in classroom and clinical setting and to learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. 

(Adapted with permission from Creighton University School of Nursing Safety and Technical Standards Policy and Procedure, 2021) 
Students requesting accommodation should contact the Duquesne University Office of Disability Services at (412) 396-6658.

Medical Marijuana

Students are not permitted to use marijuana during clinical rotations as it is not permitted by the School of Nursing’s clinical partners while students care for patients due to patient safety considerations. It is up to the student’s physician if they elect not to use marijuana as a medical treatment to enter a nursing school in Pennsylvania. The School of Nursing does not recommend any medical treatments for students. Students will need medical clearance by their physician indicating that they meet the technical standards as outlined in this section of the handbook without marijuana use. Any student who receives a positive drug test for marijuana will not be permitted to attend the clinical portion of the program. 


The handling of all records and subject information for all evaluations will be strictly confidential and revealed only to those required to have access. Any breach of confidentiality will be considered serious and appropriate disciplinary action will be taken. 


Any identified misrepresentation, falsification, or material omission of information from an applicant discovered during the admission process or student during ongoing enrollment when clinical course  eligibility if deliberated, may result in exclusion from clinical activities, or immediate dismissal. 

Technical Standards are posted on the admissions page of the School of Nursing website. All requests for accommodation by applicants or current students are to be directed to the University Office of Disability Services. In certain circumstances, the Assistant Dean for Recruitment and Enrollment Management, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Undergraduate Program Chair or Clinical Coordinator may be consulted, as needed, by the Office of Disability Services to determine reasonable accommodation for clinical practice. A student wishing to appeal a decision regarding accommodation should do so, in writing, to the Dean within fourteen (14) working days from the student’s receipt of notice of the decision. The decision of the Dean on appeal shall be final.

Accommodation Requests

Students requesting accommodation should contact the Duquesne University Office of Disability Services at (412) 396-6658 or disabilityservicesFREEDUQUESNE.

PA State Board of Nursing Licensure Information

Please note that the PA State Board of Nursing reserves the right to deny a license to any candidate who has been convicted of any felonious act. Conviction includes a judgment, an admission of guilt or a plea of nolo contendere, probation without verdict, or incomplete Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD). Further, the Board shall not issue a license to any applicant who had been:

  1. Convicted of a felonious act prohibited by the act of April 14, 1972 (P.L. 233, No. 64) known as The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act; or
  2. Convicted of a felony relating to a controlled substance in a court of law of the United States or any other state, territory, or country unless;
    • At least 10 years have elapsed from the date of conviction;
    • The applicant satisfactorily demonstrates to the Board, significant progress in personal rehabilitation since the conviction such that the license should not create a substantial risk of further violations; and
    • The applicant otherwise satisfies the qualifications contained in this act.