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Nursing Expectations

What to Expect in a Bachelor of Science (B.S) in Nursing Program

We often receive inquiries from our prospective students and program applicants about what to expect in the Nursing program, so we have prepared this information sheet.  The first section presents the common Physical Requirements for entry and continuation in a Nursing program.  The second section discusses sources of stress identified by Nursing Students.

Physical Requirements

The following physical requirements must be evaluated by a physician prior to entry into a Nursing program. Upon admission to the Nursing program, you will be required at that time to have a physical and have a doctor complete our required form, as to your abilities with regards to these physical requirements. The physical exam form will be provided to you at Orientation once admitted to the Nursing program.

  • Strength:  Sufficient to assist with lifting and transferring a patient, and perform CPR
  • Mobility:  Sufficient mobility to bend, stoop, and bend down to the floor; ability to move around rapidly; and to move in small, confined areas.
  • Hearing:  Sufficient to hear through the stethoscope to discriminate sounds; to hear cries for help; to hear alarms on equipment and emergency signals; and various overhead pages.
  • Vision:  Sufficient to make physical assessments of patients and equipment.
  • Communication:  Able to communicate in both verbal and written formats; and interact with clients, staff, and faculty supervisors.

If you have a disability that will require reasonable accommodations to fulfill these requirements then please contact Disabled Student Services. You can reach them by phone at (760) 750-4905 or by email at:

Sources of Stress Identified by Nursing Students

While faculty will work with you to make "reasonable accommodations" in the campus lab and classroom, there are clinical practice conditions that occur in the hospital environment that are beyond faculty control. The physical requirements above are necessary to function in the hospital and community health settings. Students must be able to perform and complete course objectives and requirements with or without reasonable accommodations. Additional skills and abilities are needed to perform patient care in the clinical settings in order to pass nursing course objectives and requirements.

These skills and abilities can be honed and developed while in the Nursing program, but we want to present a realistic picture of stressors for nursing students.

  1. There is a great deal of information that has to be learned and retained.  Students in a nursing program must demonstrate knowledge of these concepts in the classroom setting.  In addition, the student must be able to recall, articulate and demonstrate concepts & skills in a timely manner in hospitals and clinics, so there is no delay in patient care.  It takes a lot of practice, both in the clinical skills lab ‘classroom setting, and at the clinical sites to master some skills.  It is not unusual for students to attend voluntary lab practice on their own time, outside of class. 
  2. In addition to the development and application of this extensive knowledge base in a timely manner, students must have sufficient emotional stability to perform under stress.  This stress is produced by both academic study and the necessity of performing nursing care in real patient situations while being observed by the instructors, other health care professionals, and patients.
  3. Time requirements and need for scheduling flexibility:  In terms of course and clinical times, days and locations, these will vary from term to term.  We make every effort to group your Nursing didactic (lecture) courses each term, but these may occur Monday - Saturday.  There have been rare occasions when a lecture course has been held during the day on Saturdays, so students need to be prepared for this occasional possibility. 
  4. Required Off-campus Clinical Courses:  Each semester you will also be taking clinical courses, giving you training and experience in health care settings.  The courses are typically held in hospitals, but will also include skilled nursing facilities, hospice, community health and public health facilities.  These clinical sites are can be located throughout San Diego County, and sometimes in Southwest Riverside County.  You will need your own personal form of reliable transportation.  Hours of clinical assignments can vary from as early as 6 a.m. or possibly extend as late as 11 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Currently we don't have any clinical assignments on Saturdays, but this may change as clinical sites get harder to secure. Clinical placements are randomly assigned.

The School of Nursing
CSU San Marcos