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 T1500 with an Intel i5-750 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, a 22” ViewSonic flat panel monitor, 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, Firefox, and Chrome browsers along with Microsoft Office 2013 Professional (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Access), and Microsoft Office 2011 (Mac). (Note: Windows 7 & Windows 8 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 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 and not recommended. 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. We also recommend a webcam (either built-in on a laptop or a USB Logitech webcam) and headphones with microphone (The webcam and microphone are required for all specialty-year programs that require Remote Proctor).

Expectations for Student Home and/or Laptop Computer
  • A multimedia-capable computer with an i5 processor or better 
    • 2 GB RAM or better, 250 GB hard drive or better
    • 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 10.9+, 2GB RAM, Intel processor, fast Internet connection, latest versions of Firefox, Chrome and Safari Web browsers (Macintosh owners who use Windows with Bootcamp MUST install appropriate Windows virus protection and Windows OS updates on a frequent schedule for adequate security). 
    • Microsoft Office 2013 (Windows) or 2011 (Mac) (may be purchased at a steep discount from the Vanderbilt Software Store)

    • USB Thumb Drive 
    • A webcam may be required for some specialties.

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

Through this program, students can download software and burn their own CD/DVD but NOT obtain the printed product manuals or technical support. Students can choose Microsoft Office 2013 Professional Plus, which includes Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, Excel, OneNote, Access, Publisher, InfoPath, and Lync, or Microsoft Office 2011 Professional (Macintosh), which includes Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

VUnet and Vmail Accounts

Your Vanderbilt User Account (your VUnetID) will be used to access student services, including class registration, access to academic information, and Vanderbilt email. You need to complete the Vanderbilt User Account (VUnetID) registration process to obtain your email address. The University Registrar will begin the process by sending a message to your personal email account about ten days following payment of your matriculation fee [NOTE: For fall new students, the account activation process may not begin until mid-February or early March]. If you do not receive a message from the University Registrar about the VUnetID process and you are not currently a student or an employee of Vanderbilt, please contact Jerry Murley ( If you are a current Vanderbilt student or employee, your current VUNet ID and password will remain the same and you do not need to take any action.

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