Important considerations about your background, health, abilities and risks:

The School of Nursing does not review individual cases as to the medical and/or legal suitability of a student. However, we do wish to have prospective students informed of performance standards and practice considerations prior to making an investment of time and money in the program.

Environmental exposures and risks

Student practical nurses are exposed to a variety of substances within the work environment such as occasional fluctuations in temperature and electromagnetic radiation. Exposure to blood and other body tissue and fluids, dust, electrical hazards, loud or unpleasant noises and occasional high humidity or wetness are the norm. Practical nursing students are also exposed to many latex products - avoidance of latex in clinical training of health occupation students is not possible. An individual with a latex allergy who is starting career training is advised to select a career outside the health occupations.

Physical and mental aptitudes

Nursing is an occupation which involves daily contact with individuals and requires ability to perform a wide variety of activities. Many hospitals require a physical examination, laboratory testing and x-rays prior to hiring an individual to rule out pre-existing conditions which could cause problems in performing the expected duties. If you have any condition which might impair your ability to perform the activities listed below, you might wish to reconsider this career path

Find the core performance standards for nurses and for admission and progression in Northern's nursing programs in the chart below.

Criminal Background Checks (CBC)

Student placement in a clinical site/agency assumes that the applicant possesses good moral character and the ability to successfully pass the rigors of a background investigation and criminal background check. In specific clinical sites, the State of Michigan requires a criminal background check and the Board of Nursing requires a criminal background check prior to taking the licensure exam. All students once accepted to the nursing program must complete a criminal background check through prior to enrolling in the first clinical nursing course. Students who do not complete a criminal background check are ineligible for placement in most clinical agencies and therefore, may result in the student being unable to progress in the nursing program.

Core Performance


Examples of Necessary Activities


Communication abilities sufficient for interaction with others in verbal and written form.

Explain treatment procedures, initiate health teaching, document and interpret nursing actions and client responses.


Physical abilities sufficient to move from room to room and maneuver in small spaces. Move around in client rooms, work spaces and treatment areas, administer cardio-pulmonary procedures.

Motor Skills

Gross and fine motor abilities sufficient to provide safe and effective nursing care.

Calibrate and use equipment, position clients, administer medications orally and parenterally.


Auditory ability sufficient to monitor and assess health needs.

Hears monitor alarms, emergency signals, auscultatory sounds, cries for help.


Visual ability sufficient for observation and assessment necessary in nursing care.

Observes client responses; recognizes subtle physical changes.


Tactile ability sufficient for physical assessment and performance of skilled nursing activities.

Performs palpation, functions of physical examination and/or those activities related to therapeutic nursing interventions, e.g. insertion of a catheter.