University of Nebraska Medical Center

Essential Functions


The faculty in the Diagnostic Cytology Program have a responsibility for the welfare of the patients treated or otherwise affected by students enrolled in the program, as well as for the welfare of students in the Program. To fulfill this responsibility, the program has established minimum essential functions that must be met, with or without reasonable accommodation, to participate in the program and graduate. Discrimination is prohibited based on race, color, sex, national origin, age, disability, marital status, religion, or veteran status.

Admission and retention decisions for the Diagnostic Cytology Program are based not only on prior satisfactory academic achievement, but also on non-academic factors that serve to ensure the candidate can complete the essential functions of the academic program for graduation. Essential functions, as distinguished from academic standards, refer to those cognitive, physical, and behavioral abilities that are necessary for satisfactory completion of all aspects of the curriculum and for the development of professional attributes required by the faculty of each student at graduation.

Cognitive/Interpersonal Skills
  • Apply relevant content in basic science and clinical courses at a level deemed appropriate by the faculty.
  • Master information presented in course work in the form of lectures, written materials, images, and microscopic slide screening.
  • Perform patient testing safely, accurately, and timely.
  • Distinguish and identify objects both macroscopically and microscopically.
  • Communicate effectively in verbal and written English to obtain and transmit information to patients and members of the health care team.
  • Appropriate judgment in seeking supervisory help and consultation in a timely manner.
Physical/Motor Skills
  • Fine motor control skills to carry out technical procedures such as the use of a microscope.
  • Safely handle a wide variety of chemical reagents.
  • Willing and able to work with body fluids and with organisms that may be infectious.
  • Sit for extended periods of time as approximately 85 percent of each day is spent sitting and 15 percent is spent walking in an indoor setting.
  • Lift and move up to 50 pounds of equipment or supplies.
  • Interpretation of visual presentation on screen, repetitive hand movements, and fine manipulation due to frequent interaction with computer terminals and laboratory equipment.
  • Sufficient upper body muscle coordination and adequate dexterity to handle body fluid specimens, biohazards, chemical hazards, and instruments safely to prevent harm to self or others.
  • Perform delicate manipulations on specimens, instruments, and equipment (such as a microscope) sufficient to meet specifications for accuracy in diagnostic testing.
Behavioral Abilities
  • Possess attributes that include integrity, responsibility, and tolerance.
  • Show respect for self and others, work independently as well as with others, and project an image of professionalism.
  • Retain the emotional stability required for full utilization of intellectual abilities.
  • Work accurately and safely under stress, e.g., work under time constraints, read and record numbers accurately, perform repetitive tasks, concentrate in distracting situations, and make subjective evaluations and decisions where mistakes may have a high impact on patient care.
  • Adapt to changing environments and be able to prioritize tasks.
These standards identify the requirements for admission, retention, and graduation from the program. It is the responsibility of a student with disabilities to request accommodations that they feel are reasonable and are needed to execute the essential functions described. Reasonable accommodations are provided for students who are registered with UNMC Accessibility Services Center (UNMC ASC) and make their requests sufficiently in advance. For more information, contact UNMC ASC (Location: Student Life Center, Suite 2030; Phone: 402.554.2872, Email).