Upon entering the program, students enrolled in a Madison College nursing program should be able to meet the established Functional Abilities identified below with or without reasonable accommodation. The Functional Abilities for the nursing programs are representative of those found in the nursing profession.



Examples (not a complete list)

Physical Skills

The student should demonstrate:

  • Fine motor ability for data collection/assessment and to promote a safe care environment.
  • Gross motor ability for data collection/assessment and to promote a safe care environment.
  • Stamina sufficient to maintain physical activity for a period of a typical clinical shift.  
  • Ability to tolerate working in confined areas.
  • Ability to grasp, twist, squeeze, pinch, and manipulate equipment (e.g., operate fire extinguishers, use a manual blood pressure cuff, word process on a keyboard).
  • Ability to move in confined spaces; move body from one side to the other; reach below the waist and to the front or the side of the body to the level of the top of head (e.g., adjust overhead lights, plug electrical appliance into wall outlet).
  • Ability to push, pull, stabilize and freely move to allow movement of an object or transfer of a client from one place to another.
  • Ability to squat or execute a modified squat; move quickly in case of emergency situations.

Sensory Skills

The student should demonstrate:

  • Tactile, auditory, visual, and olfactory ability for data collection/assessment and to promote a safe care environment.
  • Ability to tolerate heat and humidity.
  • Ability to tolerate exposure to odors and common allergens.
  • Tactile examples include ability to distinguish subtle vibrations through the skin (e.g., assess a pulse), identify the subtle difference in surface characteristics (e.g., feel a raised rash), and detect temperature (e.g. Skin, liquids, environment).
  • Olfactory examples include the ability to detect differences in body and environmental odors.
  • Ability to understand voices or other means of communication at any volume or distance.
  • Identify dangerous objects and client situations within the client room (e.g. shower and spa rooms). 
  • Identify and repsond to allergens, as placement in a latex or allergen free environment cannot be guaranteed.

Communication Skills

The student should demonstrate:

  • Effective communication with clients, client families, and other members of the health care team.
  • Ability to understand text.
  • Ability to understand charts, graphs and worksheets.
  • Ability to read and understand digital and computer displays, as well as enter data in a computerized client record.
  • Emotional stability.
  • Interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to interact and support clients during times of stress and emotional upset.
  • Ability to cope with strong emotions and physical outbursts of clients while remaining in a reasonable state of calm.
  • Ability to focus attention on client needs despite interruptions and multiple demands.
  • Ability to apply knowledge gained in the classroom to establish appropriate relationships with clients, families, and co- workers.
  • Ability to interact as a member of the healthcare team.
  • Ability to show respect for diversity in culture, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, socioeconomic status and abilities/disabilities.

Safety Skills

The student must:

  • Apply knowledge, skills, and experience to provide a safe work environment.
  • Work in an environment with potentially infectious materials.
  • Demonstrate adherence to safety guidelines and regulations.
  • Recognize potentially hazardous conditions and take appropriate actions.
  • Maintain immunization and health care requirements.
  • Utilize personal protective equipment (gloves, masks, eyewear, gown).
  • Operate equipment, adhering to safety standards.
  • Identify and resolve unsafe situations. 
  • Be familiar with and follow emergency procedures.

Critical Thinking Skills

The student should demonstrate:

  • Ability to count and understand the meaning of numbers.
  • Problem solve and make decisions.
  • Apply knowledge, skills and experience.
  • Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division with or without the use of a calculator.
  • Measure length by reading a tape measure or ruler, and the ability to tell time on a clock.
  • Recognizes the need to consult with healthcare professionals.
  • Prioritizes patient care duties.
  • Problem solve complex situations while maintaining a professional demeanor.


The student should demonstrate:

  • Ability to accept constructive feedback.
  • Accept responsibility for own actions. 
  • Ability to adapt to changing situations and emergency conditions while maintaining emotional control.
  • Exhibit positive interpersonal skills.
  • Maintains confidentiality.
  • Demonstrate ability to work as a team member.
  • Adhere to attendance, dress code, and personal hygiene policies. 
  • Respond to challenging situations while maintaining composure and professionalism.


If a student believes that they may need accommodations to assist them in performing the Functional Abilities, please contact the Program Director/Program Chair for that specific nursing program.  They may also contact the Disability Resource Services (DRS) office at 608.246.6716 or 800.322.6282, ext. 6716 or email DRS at drs@madisoncollege.edu prior to the semester they begin their nursing program.