Harper College

Functional Abilities

Functional Abilities: Health Sciences Programs

General Functional Abilities

These are essential functions for admission and continuance in health career programs. Participants in health programs must possess the following functional abilities in order to provide safe and effective patient care. Some health programs have additional unique functional requirements.

Motor Capability

  1. Move from room to room and maneuver in small spaces.
  2. Squat, crawl, bend/stoop, reach above shoulder level, use standing balance, and climb stairs.
  3. Lift and carry up to 50 lbs., and exert up to 100 lbs. force or push/pull.
  4. Use hands repetitively; use manual dexterity; sufficient fine motor function.
  5. Must be able to walk and stand for extended periods of time.
  6. Perform CPR.
  7. Travel to and from academic and clinical sites.

Sensory Capability

  1. Coordinate verbal and manual instruction.
  2. Auditory ability sufficient to hear verbal communication from clients and members of the health team; includes ability to respond to emergency signals.
  3. Discern soft sounds, such as those associated with taking a blood pressure.
  4. Visual acuity to acquire information from documents such as charts.
  5. Comfortable working in close physical proximity to patient.

Communication Ability

  1. Communicate effectively in English with patients, families, and other health care providers, both verbally and in writing.
  2. Effectively adapt communication for intended audience.
  3. Interact; establish rapport with individuals, families, and groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural and intellectual backgrounds.
  4. Assume the role of a health care team member.
  5. Function effectively under supervision.
  6. Sufficient command of the English language in order to retrieve information from lectures, textbooks, as well as understand medical terminology.
  7. Skills include computer literacy.

Problem Solving Ability

  1. Function effectively under stress.
  2. Respond appropriately to emergencies.
  3. Adhere to infection control procedures.
  4. Demonstrate problem-solving skills in patient care.  (Measure, calculate, reason, prioritize, and synthesize data.)
  5. Use sound judgment and safety precautions.
  6. Address problems or questions to the appropriate persons at the appropriate time.
  7. Organize and prioritize job tasks.

Behavioral Skills and Professionalism

  1. Follow policies and procedures required by academic and clinical settings.
  2. Adheres to Harper College Academic Honesty Policy (per College catalog).
  3. Adheres to Harper College Code of Conduct (per College catalog).
  4. Abides by the guidelines set forth in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA, the national privacy act). 

Unique Functional Abilities 

In addition to the General Functional Abilities that are necessary to all Health Career Programs, certain health career programs require functional abilities that are unique to their field. Please click the health career program to read more. 

Surgical Technology

Motor Capability

  • Fine and gross motor function to perform precise instrumentation procedures.
  • Wrist, hand and finger dexterity to perform fine motor function without tremor.
  • Stamina to stand and remain focused for several hours at a time while working in surgical procedures.
  • Possess sufficient physical strength to push heavy surgical equipment, carry heavy surgical instrument trays, rearrange furniture, and position large patients

Sensory Capability

  • Visual ability and depth perception sufficient to load very small needles and suture onto a needle driver.
  • Be able to tolerate unpleasant sights and smells
Last Updated: 4/8/24