Physical and Mental Demands of the Nursing Program

Nursing students providing direct patient care, under direct faculty supervision, perform essentially the same physical and emotional activities as a professional nurse. In order to meet the objectives of clinical courses, agreements with our clinical agencies, and ensure the safety of both student and patients, a student must be able to meet these physical and mental demands and fit for duty to attend clinical.

The following information is a description of the physical and mental activities required in nursing.  The listing is not all-inclusive, but is meant to provide information related to these major areas in performing safe patient care.

These activities are considered to be in the medium duty category as defined by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Extended periods of walking/standing may occur while in the clinical area.  Stairs must be negotiated. Clinical shifts in each clinical course vary and can be up to 12 hours.

Occurs in the classroom, computer lab, during clinical conferences and when documenting in the patient's medical record.

Average lifting requirement is 50 pounds.  Nursing requires lifting of patients and carrying of medical equipment, charts, supplies, and medications.  In the clinical area and clinical lab experiences, students are required to lift, move, and transfer patients.  Requesting assistance when lifting or positioning patients is expected, however, the exertion can be up to 50 pounds.

Required in positioning and moving of patients and medical equipment.  Pushing on a patient’s chest with considerable force is required in performance of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Able to pull or push a Code Blue cart.

Considerable twisting, bending, stooping, kneeling, and reaching are required during many aspects of patient care (moving patients, bathing patients, making beds, setting up and monitoring medical equipment). Able to climb on to patient’s bed for CPR.

Utilized in assessment of patient's health status when inspecting and observing for changes in color, physical appearance, and non-verbal behavior.  Able to accurately read medication labels and prepare medications.  Reads written communication and monitors medical equipment findings.

Depth Perception:
Required for the ability to recognize that objects have depth as well as height and width.  Assists in description of wounds, lesions, etc.  Required for fine task performance when using medical supplies for insertion into the body or medication administration by injection.

Fine Motor Skills:
Needs manual dexterity and coordination to write clearly and precisely to perform various nursing procedures and grasp and control medical equipment as necessary.

Tactile Sensation:
The ability to utilize the hands and fingers as a means of "hands-on" during a physical assessment and medication administration.  The individual must be able to feel vibrations, temperature changes, and pulses.

The skills vital in nursing include the ability to adapt to continually changing environment and critical thinking abilities.  Must demonstrate professional behavior at all times, especially while caring for patients.  Must be able to accept constructive criticism and accept own limits.  Must be aware that they will be exposed to communicable diseases and body fluids.  Students will be provided knowledge on how to handle their own protection as well as the protection of others.  Emotional stability is needed to maintain a therapeutic relationship with patients, families, and health team members.  A student nurse may not pose a significant risk to the health and safety of those in the clinical area.

Adapted from Jameson Health System Department of Nursing

Revised 5/17​