Nursing - Inherent Requirements

The inherent requirements for nursing degrees at Adelaide Nursing School identify the core skills and attributes you’ll need to become a registered nurse.

Nursing is a complex, demanding profession. It will require of you appropriate behavioural, cognitive and physical abilities to ensure the delivery of safe, effective care. Nurses work closely with people at some of the most intimate and challenging stages of their lives, so you must have insight into your own personal and professional capacity.

  • Placement requirements

    Adelaide Nursing School degrees leading to registration require a high level of commitment to the substantial and compulsory clinical placement schedule, and the high academic standard expected.

    You will be required to attend placement experiences that may take place outside the normal academic year, and require attendance at metropolitan, rural and possibly remote locations.

  • Legal requirements

  • Behavioural requirements

    Nursing study will expose you to a range of unexpected and emergency situations. Responding appropriately to these situations, and providing safe and effective care, will require personal resilience and a consistent, sustained level of physical and mental performance.

    For example, you will need to:

    • be receptive, and respond appropriately, to constructive feedback
    • effectively cope with your emotions and behaviour when dealing with individuals in the clinical setting
    • be able to provide a caring, therapeutic approach to the needs of all persons, regardless of gender, race, sexuality or religion
    • have a capacity for self-awareness to monitor your own health and wellbeing.
  • Communication requirements

    Communication is a fundamental aspect of nursing practice. You must have the ability to communicate precisely and safely and in a way that displays respect and empathy to others, and develops trusting relationships.

    For example, you will need to be able to:

    • use clear and precise English language speaking and listening skills
    • document observations clearly and unambiguously
    • listen clearly and communicate with people from a wide range of cultural backgrounds
    • read and analyse complex health-related terms
    • recognise and respond appropriately to cues in the clinical environment.

    On completion of your degree, you must also be aware of the registration requirements for English language competency (external link) in Australia as a registered nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (external link).

  • Cognitive requirements

    As a nursing student you must be able to think critically to analyse, synthesise and evaluate complex oral, written and visual information. This analysis will be used to solve problems, provide for clinical reasoning and enable the provision of timely, relevant interventions.

    For example, you will need:

    • numeracy and literacy skills to perform accurate drug calculations
    • the ability to apply knowledge of anatomy and physiology to accurately measure and record observations of patients and symptoms
    • the ability to retain information, processes and procedures to provide a range of nursing interventions
    • the ability to apply knowledge of policy and procedures in the clinical setting.
  • Sensory requirements

    Your nursing study will demand the ability to recognise and respond appropriately to non-verbal cues across all age ranges. These observational skills (vision, hearing, smell and tactile) are required as part of all degrees.

    For example, you will need:

    • visual acuity to ensure safe interpretation of medicines and labels
    • to accurately undertake a blood pressure measurement by auscultation
    • a sense of smell to identify infection and incontinence
    • tactile ability to determine the strength and characteristics of a person’s pulse.
  • Motor requirements

    Studying nursing requires an appropriate level of physical health. This will allow you to stand for long periods of time, and perform repetitive tasks—that may require bending, squatting and kneeling—consistently and safely, without putting yourself or others at risk of harm.

    For example, you will need sufficient fine motor skills to:

    • operate health-related diagnostic equipment and instruments
    • use hand-eye coordination to complete tasks as necessary
    • perform and/or assist with therapeutic procedures
    • perform complex wound dressings.

    You will also need sufficient gross motor skills to:

    • assist patients with transfers and mobilising
    • manoeuvre equipment in open and confined spaces
    • maintain balance while safely mobilising and transferring individuals or resources
    • provide emergency care, including basic life support.

Can we make exceptions?

At Adelaide Nursing School we encourage and support diversity in our student group. As part of this, we recognise that, in particular situations, some students’ capacity to meet our inherent requirements for study may be limited.

If you find yourself in such a situation, we’ll endeavour to make reasonable adjustments for you.

It’s important to understand, however, that in some situations no adjustments can be made. In such circumstances, you will be unable to complete your degree.

Need advice?

If you have any concerns about how your specific circumstances may affect your Adelaide Nursing School studies (e.g. a disability, or ongoing health condition), there are many support options available to you.

You can explore possible reasonable adjustments with our: Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences Student Centre; Counselling Service; Disability Service; or Elite Athletes Support and Information Service.

If it is determined the inherent requirements of your degree can’t be met, we can also provide guidance to help you explore other study options.