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Tacoma Community College » Areas of Study » Career Training » Nursing » Overview » Essential Requirements

Essential Requirements

Essential Requirements for Nursing Students

The nursing profession is a highly respected field. The reasons for this are many, but largely because patients put their lives in our hands. Nurses must be worthy of that trust. The nursing program has the responsibility to assure the public that its students and graduates are competent in all of these areas.

The law relating to nursing care states in WAC 246-840-700, "Each individual, upon entering the practice of nursing, assumes a measure of responsibility and public trust and the corresponding obligation to adhere to the standards of nursing practice. The nurse shall be responsible and accountable for the quality of nursing care given to clients. This responsibility cannot be avoided by accepting the orders or directions of another person." Nursing students and graduates are held to this law.

As students go through the educational process to achieve the Associate Degree in Nursing, they are required to assimilate knowledge of nursing science as well as clinical skills. Students must also develop good judgement for appropriate decision-making.

With the acquisition of this knowledge, students and graduates must be able to function as safe practitioners. In order to safely function in the role of a student and/or registered nurse, one must exhibit the highest standard of physical, cognitive, and behavioral abilities.

The nursing faculty has an obligation to socialize students into the profession beginning with the point of entering the program. Students will be held to the essential requirements below:


  • Use of the physical senses (e.g., ability to visualize color changes in the skin, hear the heart and lungs, feel masses, etc.).


  • Effective communication (reading, writing, speaking) of the English language including the ability to process and communicate information in a timely, succinct, yet comprehensive manner.
  • Demonstration of responsive, empathetic listening to establish rapport, recognition of the significance of nonverbal responses, etc.
  • Fluency in the English language (as it is the only language formally used in healthcare in the U.S.).

Intellectual, Conceptual

  • Acquiring information.
  • Organizing data and coming to an appropriate conclusion.
  • Measuring, calculating, reasoning, prioritizing.
  • Demonstrating comprehension, memorization, analyzing, and synthesizing material.
  • Problem-solving.
  • Making a correct judgment in seeking supervision and consultation in a timely manner.
  • Following directions consistently and accurately.


  • Integrity, honesty.
  • Empathy, compassion.
  • Responsibility.
  • Sensitivity to cultural differences, tolerance.
  • Humanitarian concern, altruism.
  • Functioning effectively under stress.
  • Flexibility, ability to adapt to an unpredictable environment.
  • Functioning as a team member.

In order to succeed in the TCC Nursing Program, a student must be able to consistently perform certain physical and mental tasks in a variety of settings.

A general nursing student job description is available upon request. It was developed to assist in outlining these basic requirements. It is the responsibility of the student to determine what, if any, accommodations would need to be made for the student to perform the job successfully. This information must be provided in writing to the Associate Dean for Nursing in advance. This is done to allow adequate time to determine reasonable accommodations and to make necessary arrangements.

A temporary disability will be handled in the same way as a permanent one. A written release from a primary care provider may be required to clear the student to perform all tasks.

Clinical Expectations
Students must meet all minimum requirements of all nursing program clinical affiliate agencies which may include:

  • background checks
  • drug screening
  • draft registration (males only)
  • proof of citizenship and legal residency
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