Nursing and Health Studies Program

RN-to-BSN Essential Professional Abilities and Behaviors

Essential Professional Abilities and Behaviors

The following material amplifies requirements found in the University of Washington Student Conduct Code.  All RN-to-BSN students need to abide by the following specifications for behaviors and abilities. Performance and academic progress will be reviewed by faculty for each student at the end of each quarter.

Motor and sensory skills.  Students need to have sufficient motor function and sensory skills in order to be able to execute movements and make observations required in the domain of nursing care/activity in the program of study.

Communication.  The degree candidate must communicate effectively and sensitively with other students, faculty, staff, patients, family, and other professionals:

  • He or she must express his or her ideas and feelings clearly and demonstrate a willingness and ability to give and receive feedback. 
  • A degree candidate must be able to:  convey or exchange information at a level allowing development of a health history; identify problems presented; explain alternative solutions; and give directions during treatment and post-treatment.
  • The candidate must be able to communicate effectively in oral and written forms. 
  • The candidate must be able to process and communicate information on the patient's status with accuracy in a timely manner to members of the health care team.  The appropriate communication may also rely on the candidate's ability to make a correct judgment in seeking supervision and consultation in a timely manner.


  • Students must be able to reason, analyze, integrate, synthesize and evaluate in the context of the undergraduate program of study. 
  • He or she must be able to evaluate and apply information and engage in critical thinking in the classroom and clinical setting.


  • Students must possess the emotional health required for the adequate utilization of intellectual abilities, the exercise of sound judgment, and the timely completion of responsibilities in their programs of study. 
  • Further, students must be able to maintain mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients, students, faculty, staff, and other professionals under diverse circumstances including highly stressful situations. 
  • Students must have the emotional stability to function effectively under stress and adapt to environments that may change rapidly without warning and/or in unpredictable ways. 
  • Students must be able to experience empathy for the situations and circumstances of others and appropriately communicate that empathy.
  • Students must acknowledge that values, attitudes, beliefs, emotions, and experiences affect their perceptions and relationships with others. 
  • Students must be able and willing to examine and change behaviors when they interfere with productive individual or team relationships. 
  • Students must demonstrate the effective and harmonious relationships with the diverse academic and professional environments relevant to their chosen programs of study.

Professional Conduct

  • Students must possess the ability to reason morally and practice nursing according to the Professional Code of Ethics. 
  • Students must be willing to abide by professional standards of practice as well as regulations for professional licensure.  
  • Students must demonstrate the attributes of compassion, altruism, integrity, honesty, responsibility, and tolerance.

Reasonable Accommodation for Disabilities.  

  • Students must be able to perform all the essential functions of the program with or without accommodation.  A student who discloses a disability and requests accommodation will be referred to Disability Support Services.  Alternatively the student may approach Disability Support Services directly to inquire about accommodations for a disability.  The student may be asked by Disability Support Services to provide documentation of the disability for the purposes of determining appropriate accommodations.  The University will provide reasonable accommodations, but is not required to make modifications that would substantially alter the nature or requirements of the program.  If you have questions regarding reasonable accommodation, contact Disability Support Services at 425-352-5307.

Implementation of the Essential Behaviors for Admission, Continuation and Graduation

All prospective students will be advised of the Essential Behaviors for Admission, Continuation, and Graduation in application packets, during program orientation, and via the School's Web site. 

If and when a student does not meet these expectations for essential behaviors, the following will occur:

1. Notification of faculty concern: Faculty will notify NHS advising staff of any concerns they have about their students. 

2. Problematic behavior documented: Problematic behavior will be documented by faculty in the student's record.

3. Problematic behavior results in Warning Card and Contract: If a pattern of problematic behavior or a single, very serious lapse in the essential behaviors becomes evident, the steps below should be followed so that the student is apprised of a Warning Card indicating that the student's continuation in the program is in jeopardy.
The warning document is at

a.   Composing contract: The student's instructor and/or appropriate program advisor in consultation with the Nursing and Health Studies Dean will prepare an individual student contract that must accompany the warning card identifying what needs to be demonstrated in order to meet the essential behaviors and thus remain in the program.

b.   UW Bothell  School of Nursing and Health Studies Faculty approves contract: The individual student contract is reviewed and approved by the UW Bothell School of Nursing and Health Studies Program Faculty.  The documentation of lapses in the essential behaviors must accompany the contract.

c.   Student apprised of warning card and given contract: The Dean, instructor and/or appropriate program advisor meet with the student to present the warning card and individual student contract. After the student reads and signs the warning card (signature indicates that the student has read it), the card is placed in the student's academic file.  

4. Contract monitored quarterly by School of Nursing and Health Studies  Faculty: If the contract is not upheld by the student, the student will be dismissed.

5. Campus Resources: Students may access campus resources including:

  • UW Bothell Counseling Resources: UW Bothell recognizes that personal or academic issues may impede a student's progress in school. Short-term personal counseling is offered in a supportive and confidential environment. Academic skills enhancement, student support groups and couples counseling are also available through the Counseling Center.  For more information or to make an appointment contact the Counseling Center office (425-352-3183).
  • UW Bothell Ombudsman: The Office of the Ombudsman provides focused services for preventing, managing, and resolving conflicts among students, staff, and faculty of this University.  Through active participation in the mediation process, students, faculty and staff can develop competencies for preventing, managing, and resolving future conflicts. The Ombudsman office is located on the Seattle campus at 206 Condon Hall (206-543-6028), This office is available to UW students from all three campuses from Monday-Friday, 9am-4pm. In addition, a representative from the Ombudsman's office is available on the Bothell campus by appointment (425-352-5238).

Approved by Attorney General 10/14/02
Approved by UWB Nursing 11/6/02

Did You Know?

UW Bothell has awarded more than 15,000 degrees.