Overview of Psychomotor Skills Necessary for Nurses


Psychomotor nursing skills are physical skills that fall into one of three categories of education that nurses must acquire. These skills involve motor dexterity, coordination and movement. The All Nurses website states that these types of skills can also include communication skills such as public speaking or charting abilities.

Some examples of psychomotor nursing skills are taking blood pressure, putting in intravenous lines, administering injections, taking temperature and mixing insulins in the same syringe.

Learning Skills, Sequence

Psychomotor nursing skills can be acquired in a number of ways including these, and in the following sequence of skill-level.

  • Observation: observing experienced nurses administering procedures
  • Imitation: demonstrating the observed skill (under supervision of an instructor).
  • Academically: following instructions; practicing skills; performing. 
  • Articulation: coordinating and modifying the skill; combining and resequencing.
  • Naturalization: performing the skill automatically with ease, on a consistently high level.

    Additionally, learning nursing psychomotor skills is being facilitated through computer assisted instruction and web-enhanced approach.

Vital Signs

One example of psychomotor skills that nurses are required to learn is taking of vital signs.

Taking vital signs is a daily part of the work of most nurses. Nurses need to learn this skill so that it becomes second nature. Some of the most common vital signs that nurses will need to take are blood pressure, respiratory rate, radial and apical pulse and body temperature, among others.

Infection Control

Infection control is an important aspect of a nurse’s psychomotor skills. Some of these skills include washing hands before initiating direct contact with the patient, wearing gloves before contacting any human secretions, isolating attire, dressing and disrobing in the proper sequence, and maintaining a sterile field.

Wound management is also a psychomotor skill nurses must know well.

Daily Living

There are many activities of daily living where the nurse is in direct contact with the patient and assisting the patient day by day. Skill is needed in acquiring safe and effective techniques in these areas. Nurses need to develop psychomotor skills in bathing, backrub, footcare, eye care, ear and nose care, oral care, mobility (that is, skill in moving patients correctly and safely in various situations) seclusion techniques and restraints, caring for unconscious patients, bed making, assisting with the elimination of body waste, bed making, range-of-motion exercises, teaching patients in matters of health and hygiene, and safety.

Nutrition and daily feeding is also important.

Administering Injections

Nurses need to develop skill in administering various types of injections, including intramuscular (into the muscle), intradermal (in the skin), and subcutaneous (lowest level of skin tissue). Insulin administration is also a necessary skill, and skill in enteral (intestinal) or nasogastric (from the nose, past the throat, into the stomach) tubes are also psychomotor skills that nurses need to develop.

Other Specialized Skills

There are a number of nursing specialties, each requiring unique and specialized psychomotor skills. Some specialized skills are involved with respiratory management, circulatory management and psychiatric care (which includes administering medication and ECT treatment), as well as pre and post-operative specialized skills, skills unique to neonatal care, and those involved with neurological functions.


Nursing is a demanding but rewarding profession that has academic as well as physical demands. Nurses are often the first-line mental health workers that deal with patients of all types on a day to day basis. Psychomotor skills are one necessary set of skills that nurses must develop.


Source by AYCNP