Technical Standards for the Nursing Program and Other Requirements

Technical Standards

Nursing students with instructor Jean Prast in the sim lab

The Technical Standards for Admission, Progression, and, Graduation (Technical Standards) are an integral component of the Department of Nursing and Allied Health at Westfield State University academic requirements that identify core professional nursing competencies in eight specific domains – critical thinking/cognitive competencies, professional relationships, communication, mobility, motor skills, hearing and visual skills, observation and tactile senses. Nursing students must meet all the requirements of the Technical Standards, with or without reasonable accommodations, in order to successfully progress through and graduate from their program.

Individuals interested in applying for admission to the Department of Nursing and Allied Health are encouraged to review the Technical Standards to become familiar with the skills, abilities and behavioral characteristics required to complete the programs.

This list is not all-inclusive and all applicable skills cannot be listed. The Department of Nursing and Allied Health reserves the right to determine other relevant criteria in order to preserve the School's professional and academic standards. The table below is adapted from the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) Sample Core Professional Standards as developed by the SREB Council on Collegiate Education for Nursing Education.

If there are any questions regarding the requirements of the technical standards to the Westfield State University Nursing Program, please contact the department chair at 413-572-8414. 

Requirements Standard Example of Activities
Critical Thinking and Cognitive Competencies Critical thinking ability for clinical judgment Identify cause/effect relationships in clinical situations.  Use of the scientific method in the development of patient care plans/concepts maps.  Evaluate effectiveness of nursing interventions.  Accurately follow course syllabi, assignments, directions, patient protocols, and any actions plan (s) developed by the chair, faculty, administration, or health care agency staff. 
Professional and Behavioral Relationships Interpersonal skills sufficient for professional interaction with a diverse population of individuals, families and groups Establish rapport with patients/clients and colleagues.  Capacity to engage in successful conflict resolution. Capacity to demonstrate ethical behavior, including adherence to the professional nursing and student honor codes, as well as applicable laws and regulations governing the nursing profession.  Ability to relate to colleagues, staff and patients with honesty, integrity, and non-discrimination.  Ability to work constructively in stressful and changing environments with the ability to modify their behavior in response to constructive criticism and to maintain a high level of functioning in demanding or stressful situations. 
Communication Communication adeptness sufficient for verbal and written professional interactions Explanation of treatment, procedure, initiation of health teaching.  Accurately obtain information from patients, family members/significant others, health team members, and/or faculty.  Documentation and interpretation of nursing actions and patient/client responses.  Communications include: oral, hearing, reading, writing, and computer literacy.
Mobility Physical abilities sufficient for movement from room to room and in small spaces Movement about patient’s room, workspaces, and treatment areas.  Administer rescue procedures such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation. 
Motor Skills Gross and fine motor abilities sufficient for providing safe and effective nursing care Calibration and use of equipment. Strength to carry out patient care procedures, such as assisting in the turning and lifting/transferring of patients.  Perform and/or assist with expected nursing student procedures, treatments, and medication administration using appropriate sterile or clean technique (for example, medication administration, CPR, insertion of catheters).  Endurance sufficient to complete all required tasks during the assigned period of clinical practice, including a 12-hour clinical shift. 
Hearing and Visual Auditory and visual ability sufficient for observing, monitoring and assessing health needs Ability to hear monitoring device alarm and other emergency signals.  Ability to discern sounds and cries for help.  Ability to observe patient’s condition and responses to treatments. 
Observation Ability to make observations in connection with other identified professional nursing student competencies Use and accurate interpretation of information obtained from digital, analog, and waveform diagnostic tools such as temperatures, blood pressures, and cardiac rhythms as well as diagnostic tools that monitor or obtain physiological phenomena.  Observation and interpretation of the following:  patient’s heart and body sounds, body language; color of wounds, drainage, urine, feces, expectoration; sensitivity to heat, cold, pain and pressure; and signs and symptoms of disease, pain, and infection. 
Tactile Sense Tactile ability sufficient for physical assessment Ability to palpate in physical examinations and various therapeutic interventions.

* Source:

Westfield State University Department of Nursing and Allied Health is committed to ensuring equal access to a quality education for qualified students through the provision of reasonable academic accommodations that support our standards and academic integrity.  Our policy provides for reasonable academic accommodations to be made for students with disabilities on an individualized and flexible basis as specified under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). 

Westfield State University provides reasonable academic accommodations to students on campus who request accommodations and who meet eligibility criteria.  For more information or to request academic accommodations, individuals should contact the Banacos Academic Center located at Parenzo Hall, (413) 572-8772.

Other Requirements

Good Moral Character Required for Licensure

In compliance with policy of the Massachusetts State Board of Nursing, all applicants/students are informed that completion of the BS degree does not guarantee admittance to the registered nurse licensure examination. According to Board Licensure Policy 00-01, any individual convicted of a felony or misdemeanor conviction and/or who has been disciplined by a licensure/certification body must be evaluated by the Board to determine a licensure applicant’s compliance with the “good moral character” licensure requirement established at Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 112, section 74 and 74A. Any individual who has been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor conviction, and/or who has been disciplined by a licensure/certification body, or whose ability to practice professional nursing is adversely affected by a physical or mental disability/illness that may endanger the health and/or safety of a person should seek special advising prior to enrolling in any professional nursing program in Massachusetts. Individuals convicted of certain criminal convictions are permanently excluded from nurse licensure in Massachusetts.

All students in the Nursing program will be required to have periodic Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) checks requested by the department and/or clinical agencies. This background check is a computerized search to determine if an individual has any convictions, outstanding warrants or pending complaints. The information from these records is confidential and is destroyed when students graduate. 

Progression and mandatory clinical placements in the Nursing program are contingent on a “no report” CORI check result. Clinical agencies may independently perform CORI checks on students and are not required to accept a student with a CORI report indicating that an offense exists.

The Nursing Department is not responsible for alternate clinical placements for students who cannot be placed in an agency related to a CORI offense report. Students have an obligation to inform the Nursing Department chair if any legal issues arise while in the program that are reportable on a CORI. Read more.

Health Care Agency Requirements: Health, Drug Screening and Other Requirements

Nursing students will be placed in a variety of health care settings. Each agency has requirements, which students must fulfill before they are allowed placement. This list may include, but is not limited to, the following; physical exam, immunizations, agency specific orientation, CORI, SORI, and drug screening. 

This includes COVID-19 vaccination status.  While Westfield State University may grant an approved college medical or religious exemption, clinical placement is determined by that agency's requirementsThe student will be required to comply with any and all agency process. The clinical agency has sole authority in deciding whether to grant an exemption. Should the clinical agency deny the exemption, an alternate clinical placement might not be available and the student may not be placed for the semester. 

Progression and mandatory clinical placements in the Nursing program are contingent on meeting all agency requirements. If a student is denied placement by an agency for any reason, including a positive drug or CORI report, the Nursing Department is not responsible for providing alternate clinical placements.