Technical Standards

The following information delineates the essential, non-academic attributes that individuals must possess to successfully participate in and complete entry-to-practice programs at VCU.

This information is presented so that persons interested in applying for a graduate program in nurse anesthesia will have a better understanding of the physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral requirements necessary to function as a nurse anesthetist. The Department of Nurse Anesthesia acknowledges the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

The faculty recognizes that the practice of nurse anesthesia is physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging. The provision of safe, competent anesthesia services requires that practitioners demonstrate cognitive, technical, observational, and behavioral skills. Students need to have the physical and emotional endurance to adapt to a demanding graduate program.

Successful progression through the nurse anesthesia program requires the following abilities:


  • Discriminate variations in human responses to disease using visual, auditory, tactile, and other sensory cues.

  • Discriminate changes in monitoring devices and alarms using visual and auditory senses.

  • Communicate clearly and effectively in English through oral and written methods in order to communicate with other health care providers and patients of all ages.

  • Comprehend written and verbal communications in English.


  • Coordinate gross and fine motor movements and the senses of touch and vision to gain intravascular access, administer regional anesthesia, and perform airway management.

  • Demonstrate sufficient physical strength to perform airway management and move and position patients and equipment.

  • Possess sufficient stamina to stand or sit for prolonged periods of time.

  • Safely maneuver throughout the operating room and other anesthetizing locations.

  • Respond appropriately to monitor and equipment alarms and changes in patient conditions that require physical interventions.


  • Use reason, analysis, calculations, problem solving, critical thinking, self-evaluation and other cognitive and learning skills to acquire knowledge and comprehend and synthesize complex concepts.

  • Interpret information derived from auditory, written and other visual and sensory data to determine appropriate anesthetic management plans.

  • Apply theoretical knowledge to practice to provide safe anesthetic care.


  • Demonstrate personal and professional self-control as well as tactfulness, sensitivity, compassion, honesty, integrity, empathy, and respect.

  • Work flexibly and effectively in stressful and rapidly changing situations.

  • Cooperate with other members of the health care team to provide a therapeutic environment and safe patient care.


Background Checks and Drug Testing

Following admission, successful completion of a criminal background check and drug testing will be required (at student expense) for participation in clinical education courses. Failure to pass one of these tests will prevent the student from successfully completing the clinical education requirements and, therefore, the program. In addition, before a student begins the program of study, it should be noted that a conviction of either a felony or misdemeanor (other than parking/speeding violations) is considered as part of the determination of eligibility for the National Certification Examination (“Ethical Concerns”) and may result in denial of licensure as a nurse practitioner in Virginia (and other states) required to practice as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist.

For more information, please contact the Department of Nurse Anesthesia at 804 828-9808 or