Inherent requirements

Inherent requirements are the essential components of a course or unit that must be met by a student to demonstrate the abilities, knowledge and skills to achieve the core learning outcomes of the course or unit, while preserving the academic integrity of Mater Education Limited’s (MEL) learning, assessment and accreditation processes. Inherent requirements are essential components that, if skipped, would substantially impact on course learning outcomes. 

Students with a disability or chronic health condition may have reasonable adjustments made to enable them to meet these requirements.

MEL is committed to making reasonable adjustments to teaching and learning, assessment, clinical practice and other activities to enable students' to participate in their course. Reasonable adjustments must not fundamentally change the nature of the inherent requirement. Students are required to undertake activities which reflect the Australian health care context which may include mixed gender, religious and culturally diverse environments. 

Successfully completing the course enables the student to apply for registration as an enrolled nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) which is a partner board of the Australian Health Practitioners Registration Authority (AHPRA).

To support potential and current students' decision making, a series of inherent requirement statements has been developed. These statements specify the requirements of the Diploma of Nursing course for student admission and progression. The statements are clustered under eight domains consisting of ethical behaviour, behavioural stability, legal, cognition, communication, sensory abilities, strength and mobility, and sustainable performance.

Learn more about the inherent requirements of the Diploma of Nursing and how they affect students.

The importance of inherent requirements and how they differ to compulsory requirements 

Inherent requirements ensure the academic integrity of a course is maintained and preserves the organisation’s learning, assessment and accreditation processes. They must be met by all students.

Inherent requirements are specific to a particular course. In the vocational context, compulsory requirements are broader and can include:

  • compliance with the policies, procedures and regulations which are applicable to all students at MEL

  • the mandatory requirements associated with the course of study, eg attendance, completion of assignments.

Understand key terms

In order to know if you meet the inherent requirements, you first need to understand the terminology we use to describe them. Read how we define important terms such as reasonable adjustments, adaptive equipment and assistive technology. 

Reasonable adjustments

The Disability Discrimination Act [DDA] 1992, as amended in 2009 (Australian Government Comlaw, 2010) through the Disability Standards for Education [DSE] (Australian Government Comlaw 2005), requires institutions to take reasonable steps that enable a student with a disability to participate in education on the same basis as a student without a disability.

An adjustment is a measure or action taken to assist a student with a disability to participate in education and training on the same basis as other students. Examples of adjustments include: provision of a note taker or Sign Language Interpreter; provision of adaptive equipment / furniture or assistive technology.

An adjustment is reasonable if it balances the interests of all parties affected.2

Making changes to ensure equal opportunity for people with a disability is commonly referred to as a "reasonable adjustment."3

Adaptive equipment

  • Equipment / furniture / devices designed to facilitate independence for people with people with disabilities and medical conditions

Adaptive equipment includes: ergonomic furniture such as height adjustable desks and chairs; mobility equipment and may include industry specific equipment.

 
Assistive technology

  • Software or hardware devices by which people with disabilities can access technology

Assistive technology can include devices such as alternate keyboards and mice, voice recognition software, monitor magnification software, multiple switch joysticks, and text-to-speech communication aids.4

Understand Inherent requirements domains terminology

To provide clarity and consistency, the inherent requirement statements have been grouped under eight (8) domains. 

1.Ethical behaviour - Acting in ways consistent with what society and individuals typically think are good values and avoiding activities that do harm to people or the environment.

In the context of Inherent Requirements, this could mean adherence to the Behavioural Standards and Student Rules set down by MEL and the Code of Conduct for nurses, as set by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA).

2. Behavioural stability - The maintenance of a level of conduct that is deemed acceptable and appropriate, according to societal or situational mores, over a given period of time and within small or large groups of persons.

This requirement is most pertinent to students with mental health issues, neurological impairments and students on the Autism Spectrum and refers to circumstances where the student can demonstrate consistent, predictable and appropriate conduct.

3. Legal - Pertaining to law. For the purposes of the Inherent Requirements, this refers to the legal requirements set out by professional bodies associated with the Diploma of Nursing.

4. Communication (Language) 

  • Verbal communication - The act of conveying messages, ideas or feelings through the use of speech. For the purposes of the Inherent Requirements, speech producing / voice output communication devices are also considered verbal communication.

  • Non-verbal communication - Elements of speech and communication behaviour aside from words that transmit meaning including: pitch, speed, tone and volume of voice; gestures and facial expressions; body posture, stance, and proximity to the listener; eye movements and eye contact. Non-verbal cues can provide significant additional information to a listener/ conversational partner.

  • Written communication - Communication by means of written symbols -this includes typed, printed or handwritten material in addition to the use of electronic devices such as tablets.

5. Cognition 

The mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through one’s thought, experience, and senses.

  • Knowledge and cognitive skills - Any of a number of acquired skills that reflect an individual's ability to think. Cognitive skills include: verbal and spatial abilities; concentration; memory; perception; reasoning; planning and organisation; flexible thinking and problem solving.

  • Literacy (Reading and comprehension) - For the purpose of the inherent requirements, is defined as the ability to acquire information, understand that information and apply in a scholarly manner. This includes collecting information from multiple sources, comprehending that information and reporting the findings to demonstrate understanding.

  • Numeracy - The ability to understand and work with numbers. Basic numeracy skills consist of comprehending fundamental mathematics like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

6. Sensory ability 

The mode by which one’s body perceives external stimuli - through sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch. In the context of the Inherent Requirements, the key sensory modalities are vision, hearing and tactile abilities.

  • Visual - The extent to which a person can see; accuracy of vision.

  • Auditory - The sense of hearing; the ability / inability to hear.

  • Tactile - The sense of touch.

7. Strength and mobility 

  • Gross motor skills - The use of large muscle groups that coordinate body movements for activities such as walking, lifting, pushing, pulling and maintaining balance.

  • Fine motor skills - The ability to undertake precise coordinated movements of the hands for activities such as writing and manipulating small objects, such as using syringes or connecting intravenous therapy equipment. Dexterity is the skill in performing physical tasks, especially with the hands.

8. Sustainable performance - The ability to maintain a level of function over a pre-determined period of time. This could include physical performance – such as standing for a period of time or cognitive (mental) performance – such as concentrating for a particular length of time.

How do Inherent Requirements affect students? 

To successfully complete the Diploma of Nursing course at Mater Education, a student needs to be able to meet all the inherent requirements. Therefore, it is highly recommended they read the inherent requirements carefully, before enrolment, identifying capability of meeting these requirements or identification of reasonable adjustments that may be required to assist in meeting these requirements.  

If a student has a disability or chronic health condition, they must notify the Student Recruitment Officer, whom will forward the matter on to the relevant staff person. 

Get in touch with the Learning Support team by emailing Learning.Support@mater.org.au
Contact our Student Recruitment team to discuss your course by emailing materstudentservices@mater.org.au

How to read the inherent requirement statements

Students intending to enrol in the Diploma of Nursing course at Mater Education Limited should look at the inherent requirement statements and consider whether they may experience challenges in meeting these requirements.

If a student believes they may experience challenges for any reason including a disability or chronic health condition, they should discuss their concerns with the Student Recruitment Officer, whom will forward on to the relevant MEL staff. These staff can work collaboratively with the student to determine reasonable adjustments to assist in meeting the inherent requirements.

In the case where it is determined that inherent requirements cannot be met with reasonable adjustments, MEL staff can provide guidance regarding other study options.

These inherent requirements should be read in conjunction with other course information and NMBA professional codes and guidelines.


The inherent requirements are made up of the following five (5) components and domains:   

  • Level 1 - introduction to the inherent requirement

  • Level 2 - description of the inherent requirement

  • Level 3 - explanation of why this is an inherent requirement of the course

  • Level 4 - the nature of any adjustments that may be made to allow the student to meet the requirement

  • Level 5 - examples of tasks that show the inherent requirement has been met. These are examples only and not a comprehensive list.

There are eight (8) domains of inherent requirements in each of the undergraduate nursing courses. Some domains have a number of sub-domains.

1. Ethical behaviour

2. Behavioural stability

3. Legal

4. Cognition

5. Communication (language)

6. Sensory ability

7. Strength and mobility

8. Sustainable performance

Ethical behaviour

1. Nursing is a profession governed by NMBA professional codes and guidelines, including the International Council of Nurses Code of ethics for nurses, where nurses are both accountable and responsible for ensuring professional behaviour in all contexts. 

2. Student demonstrates knowledge of, and engages in ethical behaviour in practice. 

3. Justification of inherent requirement:

  • Compliance with the standards, codes, guidelines and policies facilitates safe, competent interactions and relationships for students and/or the people with whom they engage. This supports the physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of all. 

4. Adjustments must ensure the standards, codes, guidelines and policies are not compromised or result in unethical behaviour. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Semester Team Lead or Program Coordinator.

5. Exemplars:

  • Demonstrating appropriate behaviour with confidential information in classroom and clinical settings.

  • Demonstrate ability to reflect on ethical dilemmas and issues and take responsibility for ensuring awareness of ethical behaviour.‚Äč

Behavioural stability

1. Behavioural stability is required to function and adapt effectively and sensitively in this role. 

2. Student demonstrates behavioural stability to work constructively in a diverse and changing academic and clinical environment.  Behavioural stability encompasses the ability to work in groups, both small and large.  

3. Justification of inherent requirement:

  • Behavioural stability is required to work individually and in teams in changing and unpredictable environments. Nursing students will be exposed to emergency situations and human suffering and will be required to have behavioural stability to manage these events

4. Adjustments must support stable, effective and professional behaviour in both academic and clinical settings. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with your Semester Team Lead or Program Coordinator.  

5. Exemplars:

  • Being receptive and responding appropriately to constructive feedback

  • Coping with own emotions and behaviour effectively when dealing with individuals in the clinical setting

Legal

1. Nursing practice is mandated by legislation to enable the safe delivery of care. 

2. Student demonstrates knowledge and compliance with Australian Law, professional regulations and scope of practice. 

3. Justification of inherent requirement:

  • Knowledge, understanding, and compliance with legislative and regulatory requirements are necessary pre-requisites to clinical placements in order to reduce the risk of harm to self and others

  • Compliance with these professional regulations and the Australian Law ensures that students are both responsible and accountable for their practice

4. Adjustments must be consistent with legislative and regulatory requirements. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Semester Team Lead or Program Coordinator.

5. Exemplars:

  • Complying with the requirement for student registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)

  • Complying with relevant child protection and safety legislation

Communication (Language)

This course requires effective, verbal, non-verbal and written communication skills.

Verbal (Oral) Communication skills

1. Effective verbal communication, in English, is an essential requirement to provide safe delivery of care. 

2. Student demonstrates:

  • Sensitivity to individual and/or cultural differences

  • The ability to understand and respond to verbal communication accurately, appropriately and in a timely manner

  • The ability to provide clear instructions in the context of the situation

  • Timely clear feedback and reporting 

3. Justification of inherent requirement:

  • Communicating in a way that displays respect and empathy to others and develops trusting relationships

  • Communication may be restricted to verbal because of physical limitations of the individual (e.g. injury, disease or congenital conditions)

  • Speed and interactivity of communication may be critical for individual safety or treatment

  • Timely, accurate and effective delivery of instructions is critical to individual safety, treatment and management

4. Adjustments must address effectiveness, timeliness, clarity and accuracy issues to ensure safety and appropriate care. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Semester Team Lead or Program Coordinator.

5. Exemplars:

  • Participating in tutorial, simulation and clinical discussions

  • Responding appropriately to a care request in the clinical environment

 

Non-verbal Communication skills

1. Effective non-verbal communication is fundamental to nursing and needs to be respectful, clear, attentive, empathetic and non-judgmental. 

2. Student demonstrates:

  • The capacity to recognise, interpret and respond appropriately to behavioural cues

  • Consistent and appropriate awareness of own behaviours

  • Sensitivity to individual and/or cultural differences 

3. Justification of inherent requirement:

  • The ability to observe and understand non-verbal cues assists with building rapport with people and gaining their trust and respect in academic and professional relationships

  • Displaying consistent and appropriate facial expressions, eye contact, being mindful of space, time boundaries and body movements and gestures promotes trust in academic and professional relationships

  • Being sensitive to individual and/or cultural differences displays respect and empathy to others and develops trusting relationships

  • The ability to observe and understand non-verbal cues is essential for the safe and effective observation of patient symptoms and reactions to facilitate the assessment and treatment of patients

4. Adjustments must enable the recognition, initiation of or appropriate response to effective non-verbal communication in a timely and appropriate manner. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Semester Team Lead or Program Coordinator.

5. Exemplars:

  • Recognising and responding appropriately in classroom situations

  • Recognising and responding appropriately to cues in the clinical environment

 

Written Communication skills

1. Effective written communication, in English, is a fundamental nursing responsibility with professional and legal ramifications. 

2. Student demonstrates the capacity to construct coherent written communication appropriate to the circumstances. 

3. Justification of inherent requirement:

  • Construction of written text based assessment tasks to reflect the required academic standards are necessary to convey knowledge and understanding of relevant subject matter for professional practice

  • Accurate written communication, including record-keeping and patient notes, is vital to provide consistent and safe patient care

4. Adjustments must meet necessary standards of clarity, accuracy and accessibility to ensure effective recording and transmission of information in both academic and clinical settings. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Semester Team Lead or Program Coordinator.

5. Exemplars:

  • Constructing an essay to academic standards

  • Constructing a nursing report in a timely manner that meets professional standards

Cognition

This course requires knowledge of theory and the skills of cognition, literacy and numeracy.

Knowledge and cognitive skills 

1. Consistent knowledge and effective cognitive skills must be demonstrated to provide safe and competent nursing care. 

2. Student demonstrates:

  • The capacity to locate appropriate and relevant information

  • The ability to process information relevant to practice

  • The ability to integrate and implement knowledge in practice 

3. Justification of inherent requirement:

  • Safe and effective delivery of nursing care is based on comprehensive knowledge that must be sourced, understood and applied appropriately

4. Adjustments must ensure that a clear demonstration of knowledge and cognitive skills is not compromised or impeded. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Semester Team Lead or Program Coordinator.

5. Exemplars:

  • Ability to conceptualise and use appropriate knowledge in response to academic assessment items

  • Applying knowledge of policy and procedures in the clinical setting

 

Literacy (Reading and comprehension) skills 

1. Competent literacy skills are essential to provide safe and effective delivery of care. 

2. Student demonstrates:

  • The ability to acquire information and accurately convey appropriate, effective messages

  • The ability to read and comprehend a range of literature and information

  • The capacity to understand and implement academic conventions to construct written text in a scholarly manner 

3. Justification of inherent requirement:

  • The ability to acquire information and to accurately convey messages is fundamental to ensure safe and effective assessment, treatment and delivery of care

  • The ability to read, decode, interpret and comprehend multiple sources of information is fundamental for the safe and effective delivery of nursing care

4. Adjustments must demonstrate a capacity to effectively acquire, comprehend, apply and communicate accurate information. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Semester Team Lead or Program Coordinator.

5. Exemplars:

  • Demonstrates the ability to listen to information

  • Demonstrates the ability to convey a spoken message accurately

  • Demonstrates ability to paraphrase, summarise and reference in accordance with appropriate academic conventions

  • Demonstrates accurate, concise and clear nursing documentation

 

Numeracy skills

1. Competent and accurate numeracy skills are essential for safe and effective care. 

2. Student demonstrates the ability to interpret and correctly apply data, measurements and numerical criteria. 

3. Justification of inherent requirement:

  • Competent application of numeracy skills is essential in nursing to facilitate the safe and effective delivery of nursing care

4. Adjustments must demonstrate a capacity to interpret and apply concepts and processes appropriately in a timely, accurate and effective manner. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Semester Team Lead or Program Coordinator.

5. Exemplars:

  • Performing accurate drug calculations

  • Demonstrating accurate recording on a fluid balance chart

Sensory ability

This course requires adequate visual, auditory and tactile abilities.

Visual skills

1. Adequate visual acuity is required to provide safe and effective nursing care. 

2. Student demonstrates sufficient visual acuity to perform the required range of skills. 

3. Justification of inherent requirement:

  • Sufficient visual acuity is necessary to demonstrate the required range of skills, tasks and assessments to maintain consistent, accurate and safe care of self and to others

  • Visual observations, examination and assessment are fundamental to safe and effective nursing practice

4. Adjustments must address the need to perform the full range of tasks involved in clinical practice. Any strategies to address the effects of the vision impairment must be effective, consistent and not compromise treatment or safety. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Semester Team Lead or Program Coordinator.

5. Exemplars:

  • Accurately drawing up medication to administer

  • Observing and detecting subtle changes in wounds

 

Auditory skills

1. Auditory ability is required to provide safe and effective nursing care. 

2. Student demonstrates sufficient auditory function to undertake the required range of skills. 

3. Justification of inherent requirement:

  • Sufficient auditory ability is necessary to monitor, assess and manage an individual's health needs consistently and accurately

  • Auditory assessments and observations are fundamental to safe and effective nursing practice

  4. Adjustments must address the need to perform the full range of tasks involved in clinical practice. Any strategies to address the effects of the hearing loss must be effective, consistent and not compromise treatment or safety. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Semester Team Lead or Program Coordinator.

5. Exemplars:

  • Accurately undertaking a blood pressure measurement by auscultation

  • Detecting care request by activation of call bell or calls for help

 

Tactile skills

1. Sufficient tactile ability is required to perform competent and safe nursing care. 

2. Student demonstrates adequate tactile function sufficient to undertake the required range of skills and assessments. 

3. Justification of inherent requirement:

  • Sufficient tactile ability is necessary to monitor, assess and detect patients' physical characteristics and act on any abnormalities detected to provide thorough nursing care

  • Tactile assessments and observations are fundamental to safe and effective nursing practice

4. Adjustments must have the capacity to make effective assessments of physical characteristics and abnormalities within safe time frames. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Semester Team Lead or Program Coordinator.

5. Exemplars:

  • Detecting any changes in circulation observations e.g. temperature and pulse palpation

  • Conducting a physical assessment and detecting any anatomical abnormalities

Strength and mobility 

This course requires strength and mobility involving fine and gross motor skills.

Gross motor skills

1. Nursing involves physical demands and requires gross motor function. 

2. Student demonstrates the ability to perform gross motor skills to function within scope of practice. 

3. Justification of inherent requirement:

  • Sufficient gross motor skills are necessary to perform, coordinate and prioritise care. Tasks that involve gross motor skills include lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, standing, twisting and bending. Students must be able to demonstrate and perform these tasks consistently and safely to reduce the risk of harm to self and others

4. Adjustments should facilitate functional effectiveness, safety of self and others and a capacity to provide appropriate care. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Semester Team Lead or Program Coordinator.

5 Exemplars:

  • Maintaining balance while safely mobilising and transferring individuals or resources

  • Able to safely retrieve and utilise stock and equipment

 

Fine motor skills

1. Nursing is a profession that requires manual dexterity and fine motor skills. 

2. Student demonstrates the ability to use fine motor skills to provide safe effective care. 

3. Justification of inherent requirement:

  • Sufficient fine motor skills are necessary to perform, coordinate and prioritise care. Tasks involving fine motor skills include being able to grasp, press, push, turn, squeeze and manipulate various objects and individuals. Students must be able to demonstrate and perform these tasks consistently and safely to reduce the risk of harm to self and others

4. Adjustments should facilitate functional effectiveness, safety to self and others and a capacity to provide appropriate care. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Semester Team Lead or Program Coordinator.

5. Exemplars:

  • Performing an aseptic wound dressing

  • Able to prime, accurately insert and set prescribed rate on an infusion device

Sustainable performance

1. Nursing practice requires both physical and mental performance at a consistent and sustained level. 

2. Student demonstrates:

  • Consistent and sustained level of physical energy to complete a specific task in a timely manner and over time

  • The ability to perform repetitive activities with a level of concentration that ensures a capacity to focus on the activity until it is completed appropriately

  • The capacity to maintain consistency and quality of performance throughout the designated period of time 

3. Justification of inherent requirement:

  • Sufficient physical and mental endurance is an essential requirement needed to perform multiple tasks in an assigned period to provide safe and effective care

4. Adjustments must ensure that performance is consistent and sustained over a given period. Adjustments specific to the individual can be discussed with the Semester Team Lead or Program Coordinator.

5. Exemplars:

  • Participating in tutorials, lectures, skills 

  • Provide consistent care over a negotiated time frame

References
1. UWS Inherent Requirements Working Party 2010
2. Australia Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training (ADCET) - Creating Accessible Teaching and Support
3. Australian Human Rights Commission
4.  Further information can be located at: http://www.ddaedustandards.info/dda-edu/obligations.htm
5. Inherent Requirements https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/ir © University of Western Sydney is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International licence. *Developed from: Johnson, A., Allan,T., Phillips,K., Azzopardi,T., Dickson,C., Goldsmith,M & Hengstberger-Sims, C. (2011). Inherent Requirements of Nursing Education (IRONE), Western Sydney University School of Nursing & Midwifery and Student Equity & Disability Services.

The Inherent Requirements content by the University of Western Sydney is subject to a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International licence. The details of the relevant licence conditions are available on the Creative Commons website.  cc.jpg