Technology Overview

Managing information is a central role for nursing at all levels. The science of finding, organizing, sharing, and adding to information – especially with the assistance of technology – is essential. Consequently, expectations at Vanderbilt regarding student computer skills are increasing. You need the computer skills to negotiate the Internet; download, move and copy files; and utilize word-processing and spreadsheet software. It is important for you to be able to perform these skills before you begin classes. 


We at the Frist Nursing Informatics Center (FNIC) would like to help better prepare you for your experience at Vanderbilt by sharing an overview of our computing environment. Also read the technology letter; it will introduce you to School of Nursing support for the technology requirements and expectations that are listed on this page. 

School of Nursing Computing Environment

Vanderbilt School of Nursing has wireless networking capabilities throughout the school. The school’s computing environment is predominately Microsoft Windows based.  

The standard FNIC lab computer is a Dell Precision T1650 with an Intel i5-3350 3.3GHz processor. It has 4 GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive loaded with Windows 7, a 48X CD-RW/DVD-RW drive, and USB access for a personal thumb drive. The FNIC will support student use of designated communication, word-processing, presentation, spreadsheet, and database software. Our current software-support list includes Internet Explorer 8.x+, Firefox 9.x+ and Microsoft Office 2010 and Microsoft Office 2013 Professional (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Access), Microsoft Office 2011 (Mac). (Note: Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 are supported.)  

Printing of school-related assignments is supported free of charge for the first 500 pages per semester. Additional prints may be purchased on a Commodore card for five (5) cents a copy. Visit the VUPrint page for more information about the pay-for-print service on the Vanderbilt campus  


Computer Recommendations

We recommend that you have a contemporary desktop and/or laptop computer, printer, and an Internet service provider with high speed Internet access such as the services offered by cable companies (Comcast, Charter, Time-Warner etc), DSL service provided by your phone company, or the new uVerse service offered by AT&T. If you are a distance or block specialty student, you will need an Internet connection of at least 768KB/sec download and 512KB/sec upload times. Satellite (HughesNet) or 3G cell systems (VerizonWireless, Sprint/Nextel, ATT, Cricket etc.) connectivity is typically not sufficient. 4G connectivity MAY be sufficient if you are reasonably close to the tower (at least 3 bars) and the tower isn’t overwhelmed with traffic. 

Expectations for Student Home and/or Laptop Computer
  • A multimedia-capable computer with with an i5 processor or better 
    • 2 GB RAM or better, 250 GB hard drive or better, CDRW/DVDRW drive  
    • A full duplex sound card and speakers 
    • 65,000-color video display card set to display at least 1024x768 or higher 
    • An Ethernet card (built-in, Cisco-compliant wireless capability is also recommended) 
    • Older Macintosh computers are not acceptable. Macintoshes must have at least OS X 10.6+, 2GB RAM, Intel processor, fast Internet connection, Firefox 9.x+ Web browser. (Macintosh owners who use Windows with Bootcamp should install appropriate Windows virus protection and Windows OS updates on a frequent schedule for adequate security.) 
    • USB Thumb Drive 

Vanderbilt students may obtain some Microsoft software products for free. Check this link regularly for more information and for updates:

Through this program, students will be able to download and burn your own cd but NOT the printed product manuals or technical support. Students can choose Microsoft Office 2010 Professional or Microsoft Office 2013 (Windows), which includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Access, or Microsoft Office 2011 Professional (Macintosh), which includes Word, Excel,and PowerPoint.

VUnet and Vmail Accounts

The university’s computer system is called VUnet. Once your matriculation has been processed you should be able to activate your user account for the Vanderbilt University information system (VUnet) via the AccessVU website. You will then be able to access some restricted Vanderbilt electronic resources. A Vanderbilt University email account should be created for you automatically; it will be activated by this account-activation process.

If you are currently affiliated with Vanderbilt University as an employee or as a recent undergraduate student, your current VUnetID and email account will remain active — and you can skip step one. If you are a recent undergraduate who uses a VU Gmail @vanderbilt account, you can also skip step two; however, your Vanderbilt email delivery will be changed by administrators to Vmail, and Vanderbilt will notify you by email about the change beforehand.

Step 1: If you have never had a VUnetID, please read our summary of the full AccessVU activation process by clicking here. This summary will walk you through the process for claiming your new ID. If you have an existing VUnetID as a former employee or student, then you will use that VUnetID. If you cannot remember your password, click here ( and go to the "Change Password" option to recover your password.

Step 2: Verify that your VU Outlook Web Access (Vmail) account works properly by sending an email from and to the account linked from the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing homepage under Quick Links | Vmail.

The Tech Tools Web page has more information and updates about email account management.