Essential Functions for Students in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences

Introduction

The University of Vermont is committed to a policy of equal educational opportunity, and welcomes individuals with diverse backgrounds and abilities. The University therefore prohibits discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of disability. At the same time, all students in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences (CNHS) must be able to perform the essential clinical as well as academic requirements, as the overall curricular objectives are to prepare students to actually practice in their chosen fields. The purpose of this document is to assure that all students entering the programs in this college know and understand the requirements, and can make informed decisions regarding their pursuit of these professions. Nursing and Health Sciences students must be able to meet these standards either with or without reasonable accommodations. This document is subject to modification from time to time.

Basic Requirements

Due to the varied nature of the programs in this college, the essential functions may vary to some degree from one program to another. All programs in Medical Laboratory and Radiation Sciences, Nursing and Physical Therapy require specific essential functions, as indicated in the following sections. The nature of the professions for which students in our College are being prepared necessitates the following requirements: the capacity to observe and communicate; sufficient gross and fine motor ability to perform physical diagnostic examinations and basic laboratory and clinical procedures; physical strength, dexterity, agility, and endurance; emotional stability to exercise good judgment and to work effectively in stressful situations; and intellectual ability to synthesize data and solve problems. If a student cannot perform each function in the manner described below, she or he will not necessarily be precluded from participating in the program, but will need to be able to perform all essential functions with or without reasonable accommodation. Efforts will be made by the program in which the student is enrolled to arrange clinical experiences in environments where appropriate accommodations can be made; however, the availability of certain accommodations in specific clinical environments may be beyond the University’s control.

University Support Offices

Services and accommodations for students with disabilities are coordinated by the ACCESS office. Services to equalize opportunities in the classroom and course accommodations are arranged through this office. Current and comprehensive documentation of disability will be required. Students are encouraged to inform the staff of the appropriate certifying office of any desired services or accommodations in advance of each semester. Early disclosure and consultation enable students to have the benefit of expertise from the certifying office and the student’s academic program, and generally make for more effective accommodations.

Procedure for new students

  1. The College will send the policy regarding essential functions to candidates following notification of acceptance, with a cover letter explaining its purpose and the process that will be used, and inviting questions any time before orientation.
  2. Following a presentation of the standards and an opportunity for questions, the College will ask accepted students to sign a form indicating they understand the policies related to essential functions, as well as their rights and responsibilities to be answered. This presentation will occur during orientation.
  3. It is the responsibility of all students seeking disability accommodations to self-identify by contacting the appropriate Certifying Office (ACCESS, The Center for Health and Wellbeing: Counseling Center, or The Center for Health and Wellbeing: The Student Health/Medical Clinic) and supplying adequate and comprehensive documentation of the disability. Students are strongly encouraged to self-identify as early as possible. Accommodations cannot be made retroactively.
  4. It is the responsibility of the staff of the Certifying Office to certify student disabilities and to recommend reasonable and appropriate accommodations in light of the nature of a student’s disability and academic program requirements.
  5. Once accommodations have been agreed upon by the student and the Certifying Office, the faculty for whom the accommodation is relevant will be notified, in writing. A student’s specific disability will not be revealed to faculty unless communicated directly by the student or as necessary to facilitate provision of the accommodation/s.
  6. Once the faculty member has been notified of the need for accommodations, she/he may meet and/or communicate in other ways with the student and/or the disability specialists to discuss the recommended accommodations, and work in a collaborative manner to determine their feasibility, and effective ways of meeting the student's needs.
  7. If accommodations are required in the clinical setting, the faculty responsible for the clinical course will attempt to find a placement site willing to make the requested accommodations. In addition, the student must adhere to the procedures for medical clearance required of all students participating in clinical education experiences. The student is not guaranteed that a site will be available.
  8. For detailed explanation of policies on disabilities, please see http://www.uvm.edu/%7edosa/handbook/?Page=Disability.html

Procedure for current students with newly identified conditions

  1. Any student not requesting accommodation at the time of admission may not be granted accommodation after beginning the program until the student has contacted the appropriate Certifying Office, that office has certified that a disability exists, and that office has recommended reasonable accommodations, in writing, to the faculty involved.
  2. Faculty who suspect that a student may have an unrecognized disability may discuss the concern with the student, but are not obliged to do so. The student may determine whether to pursue the issue further through diagnosis or request for accommodation, but is not obliged to do so.
  3. If a student develops a health condition, has a worsening of an existing health condition, or is diagnosed with a disability while a student and requests accommodations, s/he must provide documentation of the condition from a recognized professional capable of identifying such a condition to the appropriate Certifying Office (ACCESS, The Center for Health and Wellbeing: Counseling Center, or The Center for Health and Wellbeing: The Student Health/Medical Clinic).
  4. It is the responsibility of the staff of the Certifying Office to certify student disabilities and to recommend reasonable and appropriate accommodations in light of the nature of a student’s disability and academic program requirements.
  5. Once accommodations have been agreed upon by the student and the Certifying Office, the faculty for whom the accommodation is relevant will be notified in writing. A student’s specific disability will not be revealed to faculty unless communicated directly by the student or as necessary to facilitate provision of the accommodation/s.
  6. Once the faculty member has been notified of the need for accommodations, she/he may meet and/or communicate in other ways with the student and/or the disability specialists to discuss the recommended accommodations, and work in a collaborative manner to determine their feasibility, and effective ways of meeting the student’s needs.
  7. If accommodations are required in the clinical setting, the faculty responsible for the clinical course will attempt to find a placement site willing to make the requested accommodations. In addition, the student must adhere to the procedures for medical clearance required of all students participating in clinical education experiences. The student is not guaranteed that a site will be available.
  8. For detailed explanation of policies on disabilities, please see http://www.uvm.edu/%7edosa/handbook/?Page=Disability.html