ADN Functional Abilities for Nursing

Students in the nursing program at Bellevue College must demonstrate functional abilities necessary to assess a client’s needs. Students must demonstrate functional abilities to analyze collected data in order to identify client problems, plan and implement independent and collaborative interventions, and evaluate the care provided and the client’s responses to care. Specific observation, communication, motor, cognitive, psychosocial, and behavioral requirements provide students with the ability to carry out the responsibilities of a registered nurse providing direct or indirect client care.

Manual Dexterity:

  • Write clear and legible nursing notes and discharge instructions
  • Utilize keyboard for inputting clinical data into facility computers
  • Put on sterile gloves
  • Prepare medications (PO, IM, IV)
  • Manipulate small objects
  • Open and close medication containers


  • Remain at a client’s side for a prolonged period of time without sitting for purposes of monitoring and frequent assessment
  • Perform CPR
  • Manually position clients that are lying in a bed or sitting in a chair
  • Lift thirty (30) pounds of weight without assistance
  • Push an occupied wheelchair, shower chair, or stretcher
  • Move immobile clients from stretcher to bed, bed to stretcher, or bed to chair and back alone or with assistance from personnel

Processing Client Information:

  • Respond to communication by clients with or without direct view of client’s face
  • Respond to monitor alarms, emergency signals, and call bells from clients in a noisy environment
  • Accurately assess skin temperature, blood pressures, heart, lung, vascular, and abdominal sounds
  • Identify odors such as smoke and spoiled food
  • Identify cyanosis, absence of respirations, and movements of clients rapidly and accurately
  • Accurately process information on medication containers, physicians’ orders, and monitor and equipment calibrations, printed documents, flow sheets, graphic sheets, medication administration records and other medical records
  • Visually monitor clients in dimmed light

Math Competency:

  • Tell time – Regular and Military
  • Use measuring tools
  • Add, subtract, multiply, and divide whole numbers, decimals, and fractions
  • Record numbers
  • Calculate medication dosages (PO, IM, IV) and intravenous solution rates

Emotional Stability:

  • Provide emotional support to clients
  • Adapt rapidly to environmental changes and multiple task demands
  • Maintain adequate concentration and attention in client care settings
  • Maintain behavioral decorum in stressful situations

Analytical Thinking:

  • Transfer knowledge from one situation to another
  • Assess client needs based on understanding and synthesis of client information
  • Develop effective care plans based on assessments
  • Provide task to ensure client safety and standards of care
  • Organize and retain information in basic knowledge and skills area

Critical Thinking:

  • Identify cause and effect relationships
  • Sequence information in a manner that is logical and understood by others
  • Make sound clinical judgments and decisions based on standards of nursing care
  • Seek assistance when clinical situations require a higher level of expertise/experience

Interpersonal Communication Skills:

  • Speak, comprehend, read and write English to meet need for accurate and clear communication
  • Respect differences in clients
  • Establish and maintain effective working relations with clients and co-workers
  • Teach and provide information in an accurate and effective manner
  • Report critical client information to other caregivers clearly and concisely
  • Convey information to others through graphic, print, and/or electronic media in an accurate, timely, and comprehensible manner

Last Updated November 25, 2013