Representative Skills, Abilities, and Capacities for the Bachelor of Nursing Program


The central goal of the College of Nursing Bachelor of Nursing Program is to prepare graduates who are able to provide safe, compassionate, competent and ethical nursing care consistent with entry-level competencies as defined by the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba (CRNM). Admission criteria are designed to select academically qualified students with the potential to be successful in the programs and ultimately the profession. The student population should reflect the diversity of Canadian society, including people with disabilities.

Students with disabilities are expected to understand how their own disability requires accommodation in the clinical and classroom settings. This expectation for students is consistent with the ethical principle of providing safe, compassionate, competent, ethical nursing care, a standard which nursing students are expected to attain (Canadian Nurses Association, 2008). The student with a disability may demonstrate representative skills, abilities and capacities using reasonable accommodations as determined by the Accommodations Team. The purpose of the Accommodations Team is to provide a systematic, preplanned, collaborative effort to develop reasonable accommodation strategies for courses in the Bachelor of Nursing Program, with a particular focus on clinical courses. When appropriate, the Accommodations Team develops an Individualized Accommodation Plan (the “IAP”), designed to implement reasonable accommodation and reduce barriers. While the student with a disability must be able to demonstrate representative skills, abilities and capacities independently, there are a few circumstances in which an intermediary may be appropriate. However, no disability can be accommodated if the intermediary has to provide cognitive support, substitute for cognitive skills, perform a physical examination and/or in any way supplement clinical and ethical judgment.

In order to have graduates who meet the CRNM Entry Level Competencies, the College of Nursing selects academically qualified students with the potential to successfully meet the program requirements and to ultimately achieve success in the profession. Graduates must be able to serve the public by demonstrating accountable, ethical, and knowledge-based nursing practice. To achieve this goal, students in the College of Nursing will require appropriate knowledge, as well as cognitive, communication, social, motor and sensory skills to assess clients and to plan, implement and evaluate the necessary nursing care.

Representative Skills, Abilities and Capacities Necessary to Successfully Complete the Bachelor of Nursing Program

While this is not an exhaustive list, the following skills, abilities and capacities reflect a picture of the nature of nursing work. This list is not a screening tool for admission to the Bachelor of Nursing Program. The Representative Skills, Abilities and Capacities list was developed by the College of Nursing, University of Manitoba, based on similar work by the College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia (2007) and The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (1997). If you believe you require accommodations to reduce barriers to performing the items on this list, please contact Disability Services at (204)474-9251.

1. Cognitive Skills and Abilities

Analytical Thinking

  • Gather data
  • Transfer knowledge from one situation to another situation
  • Assess and respond to changes in the patient's condition
  • Integrate information
  • Evaluate outcomes/effectiveness of care
  • Problem solving ability
  • Critical inquiry
  • Memory to retain facts


  • Read and comprehend written documents
  • Use anatomical diagrams 

Mathematical Competence

  • Read and understand columns of numbers such as those recorded on flow charts
  • Read digital displays
  • Read graphic printouts such as vital signs, EKG strips, fetal monitor strips
  • Tell time
  • Count rates such as pulse
  • Add, subtract, multiply & divide
  • Compute fractions
  • Use a calculator
  • Write numbers in records
2. Communication Skills and Abilities
  • Hear, speak, write and comprehend English to a level to avoid confusion of words and meaning and to effectively elicit and convey information
  • Acquire and use clinical terminology
  • Recognize own non-verbal cues and interpret those received from others while considering individual differerences in expression and associated meaning
  • Record data accurately
3. Social/Behavioral Skills and Abilities
  • Differentiate and establish
  • Provide patients with appropriate psychosocial support
  • Deal with unexpected situations
  • Perform multiple responsibilities concurrently
  • Work in a stressful, changing environment
  • Manage own behaviour to provide safe, compassionate, competent, ethical nursing care
  • Engage with others to create a quality practice environment
  • Work collaboratively to develop a moral community
  • Work responsibly as a team member
  • Manage time appropriately
  • Demonstrate integrity, compassion and concern for others regardless of race, ethnicity, culture, political or spiritual beliefs, social or marital status, gender, sexual orientation, age, health status, place of origin, lifestyle, mental or physical ability or socioeconomic status or any other attribute.
  • Recognize the needs of patients
  • React appropriately to giving and receiving physical touch and working in close proximity with a full range of patients
  • Ability to function in the presence of noxious odors, noise, distraction and unpredictable behaviors of others
4. Motor/Physical Skills and Abilities


  • Move within confined spaces (around patient's bed)
  • Provide support to standing patient
  • Manipulate equipment above shoulders (IV's)
  • Reach below waist
  • Assist transfer of patient from bed to chair or bed to bed
  • Reach across patient's bed
  • Climb stairs

Fine Motor Skills

  • Pick up small objects such as syringes, tubing and cannulae
  • Grasp small objects such as needles
  • Write legibly
  • Use a computer
  • Pick up or otherwise work with fingers in gloves
  • Manual dexterity
  • Put on a gown and mask
  • Apply pressure to a wound
  • Perform complex sequences of hand/eye coordination

Physical Endurance

  • Correctly sustain repetitive movements (CPR)
  • Work entire shift (8 - 12 hours)
  • Stand and maintain balance
  • Attend three-hour classes and labs
  • Complete assignments in a timely fashion

Physical Strength

  • Push and pull 25 pounds (11 kg) to position patient
  • Support 25 pounds (11 kg) to transfer patient
  • Move objects that weigh more than 45 pounds (20 kg)
  • Use upper body strength for CPR
5. Sensory Perceptual Skill and Ability


  • See objects up to 20 feet (6 m) away
  • See objects up to 20 inches (60 cm) away
  • Use depth perception (injections, assess wound depth)
  • Use peripheral vision
  • Distinguish colour (cyanosis, wound secretions, colour coded records)


  • Hear average speaking level sound to communicate with patient and other health care professionals
  • Hear faint body sound such as blood pressure and lung sounds
  • Hear in situations where one is not able to see lips such as when wearing masks
  • Hear high and low frequency alarms


  • Feel vibrations such as pulses
  • Detect temperature of room, skin
  • Feel differences in surface characteristics such as skin texture
  • Feel differences in sizes and shapes such as palpating veins


  • Ability to detect odours from patients
  • Ability to detect smoke, gases or noxious odours

Approved by the Council of the Faculty of Nursing: September 18, 2009
Approved by the Senate Committee for Instruction and Evaluation: February 10, 2010
Approved by University of Manitoba Senate: April, 2010


Canadian Nurses Association (2008). Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses. Ottawa: Author.

College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia (2007). Becoming a Registered Nurse in British Columbia: Requisite Skills and Abilities. Retrieved from:

National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. (1997). Guidelines for Using Results ofFunctional Abilities Studies and Other Resources. Chicago: Author.

Cross Reference

University of Manitoba Policy Accessibility for Students with Disabilities

Nursing Students with Disabilities: Admission and Progression in the Four Year Baccalaureate Program and the Baccalaureate Program for Registered Nurses

Note: Reporting to the Council of the College of Nursing, the Accommodations Team consists of a Chair (appointed by the Dean of the College of Nursing), the Coordinator of the University of Manitoba Disability Services (or designate) and two full time faculty members.

October 2014