Physical Expectations

The following categories represent activities that are required for the field of nursing.

Gross Motor Skills – Move within confined spaces, sit and maintain balance, reach above shoulders (e.g. IV poles), reach below waist (e.g. plug electrical appliance into wall outlets).

Fine Motor Skills – Pick up objects with hands, grasp small objects with hands (e.g. IV tubing, pencil), write with pen or pencil, key/type (e.g. use a computer), pinch/pick or otherwise work with fingers (e.g. manipulates a syringe), twist (e.g. turn objects/knobs using hands), squeeze with finger (e.g. eyedropper).

Physical Endurance – stand (e.g. at client’s side during surgical or therapeutic procedure), sustain repetitive movements (e.g. CPR), maintain physical tolerance (e.g. work entire shift).

Physical Strength – push and pull 25 pounds (e.g. position clients), support 25 pounds of weight (e.g. ambulate client), lift 25 pounds (e.g. pick up a child, transfer client), move light object weighing up to 10 pounds (e.g. IV poles), move heavy objects weighing 11 to 50 pounds, defend self against combative client, carry equipment/supplies, use upper body strength (e.g. performs CPR, physically restrain a client), squeeze with hands (e.g. operate fire extinguisher).

Mobility – Twist, bend, stoop/squat, move quickly (e.g. response to an emergency), climb (e.g. ladders/stools/stairs), walk.

Hearing – Hear normal speaking level sounds (e.g. person-to-person report), hear faint voices, hear faint body sounds (e.g. blood pressure sounds, assess placement of tubes), hear in situations when not able to see movement of lips (e.g. when masks are used), hear auditory alarms (e.g. monitors, fire alarms, call lights).                  

Visual – See objects up to 20 in. away (e.g. information on a computer screen, skin conditions), see objects up to 20 feet away (e.g. client in a room), see objects more than 20 feet away (e.g. client at the end of hall), use depth perception, use peripheral vision, distinguish color (e.g. code colors on supplies, charts, and bed), distinguish color intensity (e.g. flushed skin, skin paleness).

Tactile – Feel vibrations (e.g. palpate pulses, detect temperature (e.g. skin, solutions), feel differences in surface characteristics (e.g. skin turgor, rashes), feel differences in sizes, shapes (e.g. palpate vein, identify body landmarks), detect environmental temperature (e.g. check for drafts).

Smell – Detect odors from client (e.g. foul smelling drainage, alcohol breath, etc.), detect smoke, detect gases or noxious smells.

Reading – Read and understand written documents (e.g. policies, protocols).

Arithmetic Competence – Read and understand columns of writing (e.g. flow sheets, charts), read digital displays, read graphic printouts (e.g. EKG), calibrate equipment, convert numbers to and/or from the Metric System), read graphs (e.g. vital sign sheets)), tell time, measure time (e.g. count duration of contractions), count rates (e.g. drips/minute, pulse), use measuring tools (e.g. thermometer), read measurement marks (e.g. measurement tapes, scales, etc), add, subtract, multiply, and/or divide whole numbers, compute fractions (e.g. medication dosages), use a calculator, write numbers in records.

Emotional Stability – Establish therapeutic boundaries, provide client with emotional support, adapt to changing environment/stress, deal with the unexpected (e.g. client going bad, crisis), focus attention on task, monitor own emotions, perform multiple responsibilities concurrently, handle strong emotions (e.g. grief).

Analytical Thinking – Transfer knowledge from one situation to another, process information, evaluate outcomes problem solve, prioritize tasks, use long term memory, use short term memory.

Critical Thinking – Identify cause-effect relationships, plan/control activities for others, synthesize knowledge and skills, sequence information.

Interpersonal Skills – Negotiate interpersonal conflict, respect differences in client, establish rapport with clients, establish rapport with co-workers.

Communication Skills – Teach (e.g. client/family about healthcare), explain procedures, give oral reports (e.g. report on client’s condition to others), interact with others (e.g. healthcare workers), speak on the telephone, influence people, direct activities of others, convey information through writing (e.g. progress notes).