Nursing Essential Functions

The Nursing Assistant Program is highly regulated by state and federal law. OBRA, 1987 and State of WI, HFS 129, 2009 offer specific criteria for how the program will be run, what is taught, how it is taught, mandated hours needed to be completed, and ability of the nurse aide to do the work required. In order to assist students successfully complete the Nursing Assistant Program and achieve certification to work through the State of Wisconsin Caregiver Program, Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) has developed functional ability criteria that students must meet, with or without reasonable accommodations.
It is the intent of Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) to fully comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, and the ADA Amendment Act of 2008.

In conjunction with its compliance with these laws, WCTC offers reasonable accommodations to students with a disability. Reasonable accommodations include modifications or adjustments that allow individuals with disabilities to gain equal access and have equal opportunities to participate in WCTC’s courses, services, activities, and use of WCTC facilities. Reasonable accommodations also include modifications and adjustments allowing such individuals to successfully achieve the required abilities (or their functional equivalent) outlined in this document.


In considering potential accommodations that might assist an individual with a disability, WCTC will engage in an interactive process designed to explore what if any accommodations might effectively allow an individual to participate within and satisfy the criteria of the Nursing Assistant Program. WCTC will make any such accommodation that is reasonable and that does not pose an undue hardship for WCTC, does not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others, and does not substantially alter the nature of the Nursing Assistant Program or the nature of the clinical sites used by the Program.

Ordinarily, students must have a documented disability in order to be eligible for disability-related services/accommodations. Students do not need to provide documentation of a disability or otherwise engage in an interactive process to assess how they might be accommodated if the accommodation they need involves a supportive brace or other supportive devices that do not impede required movement or interfere with infection control policies; hearing aids; glasses, or contacts lenses.

Other student-suggested accommodations will require the approval of the Dean, the Disabilities specialist, and the Department of Health Services. In order to provide as much time as possible to discuss potential reasonable accommodations and arrange for their implementation, individuals who believe they will need an accommodation are asked to contact the Student Accessibility office at 262.691.5318, or visit their office at C-021, at least three weeks prior to the start of a course or as soon as is practicable.

Gross Motor Skills

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

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., manipulate a syringe)
  • Twist (e.g., turn objects, knobs using hands)
  • Squeeze with finger (e.g., eye dropper)

Physical Endurance

  • Stand (e.g., at client side during surgical or therapeutic procedure)
  • Sustain repetitive movements (e.g., CPR)
  • Maintain physical tolerance (e.g., work on your feet a minimum of 8 hours)

Physical Strength

  • Push and pull 50 pounds (e.g., position client move equipment)
  • Support 50 pounds of weight (e.g., ambulate client)
  • Lift 50 pounds (e.g., pick up a child, transfer client, bend to lift an infant or child)
  • Carry equipment/supplies
  • Use upper body strength (e.g., perform CPR, physically restrain a client)
    Squeeze with hands (e.g., operate fire extinguisher)


  • Twist
  • Bend
  • Stoop/squat
  • Move quickly (e.g., response to an emergency)
  • Climb stairs
  • Walk


  • 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 lips (e.g., when masks are used)
  • Hear auditory alarms (e.g., monitors, fire alarms, call bells)


  • See objects up to 20 inches away (e.g., information on computer screen, skin conditions)
  • See objects up to 20 feet away (e.g., client in room)
  • Use depth perception Use peripheral vision
  • Distinguish color and color intensity (e.g., color codes on supplies, flushed skin/paleness)


  • 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


  • Detect odors (e.g., foul smelling drainage, alcohol breath, smoke, gasses or noxious smells)


  • Tolerate exposure to allergens (e.g., latex gloves, chemical substances)
  • Tolerate strong soaps
  • Tolerate strong odors


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


  • Comprehend and interpret graphic trends
  • Calibrate equipment
  • Convert numbers to and from metric, apothecaries', and American systems (e.g., dosages)
  • Tell time Measure time (e.g., count duration of contractions, CPR, etc.)
  • Count rates (e.g., drips/minute, pulse)
  • Read and interpret measurement marks (e.g., measurement tapes and scales)
  • Add, subtract, multiply, and/or divide whole numbers
  • Compute fractions and decimals (e.g., medication dosages)
  • Document numbers in records. (e.g., charts, computerized data bases)

Emotional Stability

  • Establish professional relationships
  • Provide client with emotional support
  • Adapt to changing environment/stress
  • Deal with the unexpected (e.g., client condition, crisis)
  • Focus attention on task
  • Cope with own emotions
  • Perform multiple responsibilities concurrently
  • Cope with strong emotions in others (e.g., grief)

Analytical Thinking

  • Transfer knowledge from one situation to another
  • Process and interpret information from multiple sources
  • Analyze and interpret abstract and concrete data
  • 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
  • Make decisions independently
  • Adapt decisions based on new information

Interpersonal Skills

  • Establish rapport with individuals, families, and groups
  • Respect/value cultural differences in others
  • Negotiate interpersonal conflict

Communication Skills

  • Teach (e.g., client/family about health care)
  • Influence people
  • Direct/manage/delegate activities of others
  • Speak English
  • Write English
  • Listen/comprehend spoken/written word
  • Collaborate with others (e.g., health care workers, peers)
  • Manage information