Student Nurse Position Description

Purpose of the position: to prepare a graduate nurse capable of providing entry-level professional nursing care to promote, attain, maintain, and restore the health of clients in a variety of health care settings.

Essential functions of the position (in the clinical area):

The student nurse is expected to spend between 8 and 32 hours performing these functions. This may include any or all days of the week and many different varieties of shifts.

Provides patient care, consistent with medical plan of care for assigned patients. Patient care encompasses the following:

  • Physical assessment, including but not limited to, listening to heart, lung, and bowel sounds with a stethoscope, checking incisions, and observing other factors, depending on individual patient
  • Receiving and giving verbal reports on each patient at the start and end of each clinical experience
  • Preparing patients for transport to other hospital departments for testing; preparing patients for discharge
  • Preparing, distributing, and administering medications prescribed by physicians
  • Charting, either handwritten or via data entered into computer
  •  Bathing patients and changing beds
  • Dressing and feeding patients
  • Accepting and orienting new patients to assigned unit
  • Providing individual patient education, in accordance with accepted nursing practice and medical plan of care
  • Discharge planning: assessment of home and caretaker at home, consulting home care resources, obtaining equipment, consulting dietary, teaching patient about discharge medications, obtaining physician approval, and arranging for any laboratory tests
  • Administers CPR according to American Heart Association standards (Basic Life Support for the Health Care Provider) to patients in cardiac arrest, on an emergency basis. Must be available for this function, which takes precedence over all others. Unrestricted movement of both upper and lower extremities, neck, shoulders, back, and hips required to perform this function.
  • Interacts with physician regarding patient’s conditions
  • Provides emotional support and patient education to patients and families
  • Performs specialized functions, including responding to audible and visual cardiac alarms, wound packing, and interpreting cardiac rhythm strips
  • Coordinates patient care with other hospital departments, including Cardiac Rehabilitation, Physical Therapy, Dietary, and Social Service
  • Demonstrates knowledge and skills necessary to provide care appropriate to the age of patients served on assigned units; knows and applies principles of growth and development over the life span when providing nursing care
  • Assesses and interprets age-related patient data and identifies age-specific nursing care requirements for assigned patients

Essential functions of the position (in the classroom):

The student nurse is expected to spend between 9 and 32 hours performing these functions. It is the policy of UPMC Shadyside School of Nursing to provide reasonable accommodation for qualified students with disabilities. If special accommodation is needed, students must contact the associate director within the first semester of study. Medical documentation from an approved, licensed provider must be provided.

  • Records and preserves pertinent lecture material for future reference
  • Participates in group discussions
  • Answers questions when called upon and presents brief oral reports
  • Reviews handout and audio-visual materials
  • Completes written examinations within time limitations imposed by faculty
  • Prepares handwritten and typewritten reports
  • Operates computer terminals and appropriate software

Working Conditions

The student nurse is assigned to clinical units within UPMC Shadyside as well as affiliating agencies within a 25-mile radius of the School of Nursing.

Physical activities required to complete essential functions of the position:

  • Standing/Walking: Standing and walking is required for majority of time spent in the clinical area (4-6 hours). Standing in one position is required while performing certain aspects of patient care. Walking occurs on vinyl, tile, linoleum, or carpeted floors.
  • Sitting: Sits while charting or entering data into computer. May also sit while receiving/giving verbal report at start/end of shift. May also sit during breaks and lunch period. Total sitting is less than two hours for each eight-hour shift, depending on clinical assignment. May also sit in the classroom from 2-4 hours.
  • Lifting: Regularly lifts medical supplies, medications, patient supplies, patient charts, weighing up to ten pounds. Also lifts CPR equipment and other medical equipment weighing up to 44 pounds. Required to assist in lifting and transferring patients, of varying weights, and is expected to request assistance when lifting, ambulating and repositioning patients. Must be able to support at least 75 pounds to reposition, transfer, and ambulate patients safely.
  • Carrying: Frequently carries medical supplies and other items weighing up to 44 pounds. Occasionally carries certain medical equipment, weighing up to 50 pounds.
  • Pushing/Pulling: Pushing/pulling 71-100 pounds is required when administering patient therapy and care, as well as when pushing equipment such as oxygen tanks and monitors, and when transporting patients in wheelchairs, and gurneys. Pushing required at 3.5 pounds of pressure when administering CPR. Full manual dexterity of both upper extremities required.
  • Climbing: No significant climbing required; may be required to climb a step stool.
  • Bending: Required when administering patient care. Must be able to bend to touch floor to remove environmental hazards.
  • Reaching: Reaching above head required when performing aspects of care such as hanging and adjusting IV bags.
  • Squatting/Kneeling: Required when operating medical equipment and performing aspects of patient care such as CPR.
  • Twisting: Twisting at waist required when bathing patients and performing other procedures.
  • Repetitive Motion of:
    • Hands: Required for grasping and fine manipulation, for patient care, including
      preparation and administration of injections.
    • Feet: No repetitive motion of feet is generally required other than for normal walking and standing. Operation of foot control is required when using sinks, hospital beds, and other specialized equipment.
  • Driving required: No; student nurses are responsible for their own transportation to and from affiliated clinical agencies.
  • Speaking: Must be able to clearly speak English to communicate, assess, and educate, patients. Must also be able to communicate verbally with physicians and other professionals involved in patient care.
  • Hearing: Must have normal hearing (aid permitted) in order to perform physical assessments, including listening with a stethoscope for bowel sounds, heart, and lung sounds. Must also be able to hear to detect subtle yet critical information regarding patient condition including alarms, and to communicate with physicians and other professionals involved with patient care. Normal hearing required for discussion with others by telephone.
  • Visual activity: Required within normal limits for monitoring equipment, reading medical data, preparing and administering medications and injections, performing physical assessments of patients including subtle changes in color.
  • Depth perception: Required for fine task such as administering injections, sterile catheter insertions (urinary, IV), nasogastric tube insertions.
  • Fine motor skills: Must have fine motor skills of all fingers and be able to grasp and control medical equipment and to perform precise procedures such as sterile dressing change. Must be able to grasp objects such as a pen to prepare handwritten reports.
  • Tactile sensation: Must be able to assess patients through palpation with fingers and hand; must be able to distinguish warm/cold and be able to feel vibrations.
  • Smell: Must have normal sense of smell to detect odors indicating unsafe conditions or changing patient status.

Temperament required to complete essential functions of the job

  • The student must exercise good judgment based on patients’ test results, instructor input, and nursing assessment in order to provide appropriate nursing care.
  • The student nurse must maintain a professional demeanor and remain visibly calm under a variety of emergency situations. Emotional stability is required when performing under stress.
  • The student nurse must work closely with others and interact with patients in a caring, professional manner to provide emotional support and education.
  • The student nurse learns under variable and constantly changing situations and must be flexible in responding to emergencies and able to prioritize tasks.
  • A student nurse may not pose a direct threat or significant risk to the health and safety of patients and/or others in the clinical area.
  • Students must have the ability to use various medical equipment, supplies, medications, charts, computer terminals, and other aides, in performance of duties.
  • Students must have the ability to use various classroom instruments such as pens, pencils, chalk, markers, staplers, computers, etc.

Environmental requirements

The student nurse must be able to function in a variety of environmental conditions which include: biohazards, infectious diseases, electrical hazards associated with patient care equipment, working with hands in water, and working with or near the deceased.

Contact Us

Shadyside School of Nursing
Motor Square Garden
5900 Baum Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15206


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