School of Health Education

Health Education Building 103
1705 Hoffman Street
Madison WI 53704

CALL: (608) 246-6065 or (800) 322-6282 ext. 6065

Monday - Tuesday: 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Wednesday - Friday: 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Essential Functions: Nursing Assistant

All nursing assistants working in the field must have the ability to perform the functions listed below safely, reliably and efficiently within the scope of practice.

Disability Act Statement: Madison College complies with all provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act and makes reasonable accommodations upon request for qualified individuals. If you believe you may need accommodations to assist you in performing the functions listed below, please contact the Disability Resource Services (DRS) office at (608) 246-6716 or (800) 322-6282 ext. 6716 (deaf students via Relay 711) or via email.

Gross Motor Skills:

  • move within confined spaces
  • maintain balance in multiple positions
  • reach below waist (e.g., plug electrical appliance into wall outlet)
  • reach above shoulders (e.g., IV poles)
  • reach out front

Fine Motor Skills:

  • grasp, pinch, twist, squeeze (e.g., record/chart, eye dropper, turn objects)
  • pick up small objects
  • write with pen or pencil, type
  • hand coordination (e.g., manipulate equipment)


  • detect body and environmental odors (foul smelling drainage, alcohol breath, smoke, gasses or noxious smells)


  • tolerate exposure to allergens (e.g., latex products, chemical substances)
  • tolerate heat and humidity (e.g., giving showers)
  • tolerate strong odors

Physical Endurance:

  • maintain physical activity for length of clinical shift (e.g., working on feet for minimum of eight hours)
  • sustain repetitive movements (e.g., CPR)


  • read and understand written documents ( e.g., flow sheets, charts, graphs)
  • read digital displays


  • interact with others
  • speak and write in English
  • listen and understand spoken and written word
  • collaborate with others
  • manage information

Physical Strength:

  • push, pull and lift 50 lbs.
  • support 50 lbs. of weight
  • use upper/lower body strength


  • feel vibrations (e.g., pulse)
  • detect temperature (e.g., skin, liquid, environment, equipment)
  • differentiate surface characteristics (e.g., rashes, swelling)


  • hear normal level speaking sounds
  • hear faint voices/whispers

Emotional Stability:

  • ability to provide client with emotional support
  • adapt to changing environment/stress
  • focus attention on task
  • cope with strong emotions in others (e.g., anger, grief)


  • twist/bend/stoop/squat
  • move quickly (e.g., response to an emergency)
  • climb stairs
  • walk (e.g., walk with client)


  • add, subtract, multiply, divide, measure, tell time and count
  • document numbers in records
  • comprehend graphic trends
  • calibrate equipment
  • convert numbers to and from metric system (e.g., dosages)


  • see objects up to 20 feet away (e.g., information on computer screen, skin)
  • see objects up to 30 feet away (e.g., patient in room)
  • use depth perception
  • use peripheral vision
  • distinguish color and color intensity (e.g., color codes on supplies, flushed skin/paleness)

Critical Thinking:

  • identify cause-effect relationships
  • synthesize knowledge and skills
  • sequence information
  • make decisions
  • adapt decision based on new information

Interpersonal Skills:

  • establish appropriate relationships with clients, families and coworkers
  • respect/value cultural differences
  • handle interpersonal conflict