Non-Fairview Employed Research Staff

In compliance with The Joint Commission's requirements and Fairview policies, non-Fairview employed research staff must complete the NERS application process to obtain approval for conducting research tasks in Fairview facilities and systems, unless otherwise noted as exempt from this policy. In addition, NERS applicants who have completed the approval process are required to complete the renewal process annually for continued access to Fairview's patient care areas and systems.

Initial NERS Application

This application must be filled out before you begin your research at Fairview, and should be updated as needed throughout your employment.

NERS application - must be included with all applications

The following checklists may be used for reference to ensure all required materials are submitted. We recommend submitting a completed application instead of sending sections at separate times.

  • Health Record Review Only - This checklist is for those that need access to view information in Fairview's Electronic Medical Record System (Epic)
  • No Patient Contact - This checklist is for those performing research tasks within Epic (Entering Research Consent, Associating Patients to Research Studies, Linking Research Encounters, etc). They will not have physical contact with patients or work with Fairview hospitals or clinics.
  • Patient Contact - This checklist is for those interacting with patients within Fairview, but are not performing any invasive or treatment-based patient care activities.
  • Patient Intervention - This checklist is for those interacting with patients with Fairview in the role of a research care provider, such as a nurse or medical assistant. A current license or certification is needed to perform these tasks.

Requesting NERS Training Materials

Please follow the steps below to gain access to training materials. 

1. Email research@fairview.org to request access to the NERS online Learning Management System (LMS). Your email should include the following information:

  • Full Name
  • (UMN) Email address
  • Department where you will be performing your research work
  • NERS Category you are applying for (Health Record View Only, No Patient Contact, Patient Contact, Patient Intervention)

2. You will receive an email from the LMS system with your log in information. FRA will assign you the online learning modules required to be completed for your NERS approval.

3. Epic Research Associates Classroom training is available to all research staff, it is only required for those applying for NERS Patient Contact or NERS Patient Intervention. FRA will provide you with upcoming available class times and register you to attend class. At that time you will receive detailed class information. (Other Epic training is available upon request for licensed staff).

NERS Background Checks (Patient Contact/Patient Intervention)

Fairview will conduct a Verified Credentials Inc. (VCI) background check and Department of Health Services (DHS). (This does not include a credit check). Successful completion of both is required before receiving NERS approval to work in Fairview locations or have contact with Fairview patients. This process will be initiated after FRA receives initial email requesting access to NERS LMS.

NERS Immunizations

NERS collaborates with the University of Minnesota Office of Occupational Health and Safety to ensure the occupational health needs of employees are met. Applicants who interact with patients are required to submit documentation of immunizations to UOHS@umn.edu.

Submitting Initial NERS Application 

Submit complete forms, supporting documents and/or questions to research@fairview.org or Fax to 612-672-7691.

NERS Approval

Once ALL NERS requirements are met, you and your supervisor will receive your NERS approval letter and if necessary your Fairview electronic systems access information, and information for picking up your Fairview NERS badge.

NERS Renewal Application

NERS approval must be renewed annually. Please make sure to address any changes in your research role at this time. As a reminder, approval only authorizes you to be in the Fairview systems and departments you note on your application. This includes being limited to the patient care tasks you selected on the application. 

We will send reminder emails around 30 days and 15 days before your approval expiration date, but it is your responsibility to meet all renewal requirements by that date. If your approval does lapse, you will be inactivated in all Fairview applications. Fairview Security will be informed to inactivate your badge on that day.

Requirements (All NERS Renewal applications)

Additional Requirements (NERS Patient Contact and Patient Intervention Only)

Submit forms and records to Fairview Research Administration by mail, fax or email Research@fairview.org

Fairview Research Administration

2344 Energy Park Drive 

Saint Paul, MN 55108 

Fax: 612-672-7691

Renewed NERS Approval

Once we have received and processed all your required documents, we will send you and your supervisor an approval letter.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of NERS?

In any hospital or clinic, the only personnel that are able to care for or interact with patients are those that are either employed by the hospital, or are credentialed providers for that hospital. Since Fairview and the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center (AHC) are collaborators, there are many University of Minnesota employees whose responsibilities are to perform research in Fairview. Fairview only credentials advanced practitioners, so there was no process for University of Minnesota employees to access Fairview resources or patients legitimately.

In 2006, Fairview Research Administration (FRA) developed the Non-Fairview Employed Research Staff policy. Through this policy, researchers can be approved by FRA to access Fairview resources. As part of the policy, FRA will confirm that the researchers have accomplished the hiring and training requirements similar to Fairview employees or credentialed staff.

What tasks do I need to check off on the application?

You only need to check the task and complete the corresponding training requirements for research tasks you are completing within Fairview, or using Fairview systems. This applies even if you are following Fairview patients at non-Fairview sites. The tasks you select will be listed on your approval letter, and you will only be allowed to perform those tasks while working within Fairview.


Situation 1: I draw participants’ blood at a University location (e.g. CTSI, MCRU), but I look up the results in EPIC.

You should only mark that you are reviewing medical records, because you are not drawing blood inside Fairview. You only need to complete the ‘No Patient Contact’ requirements.


Situation 2:

I consent subjects in a Fairview clinic, but the rest of the study visits take place outside of Fairview.

You should mark that you will be obtaining informed consent, and complete the ‘Patient Contact’ requirements.

What should I do if I change jobs or my job responsibilities change?

If your research role changes, you must submit a new application detailing all the changes, and providing new contact information. On the application, you fill out where within Fairview you will be performing research, and what tasks you will be performing. When you receive approval, you are only approved to do research in these places, and doing these tasks. It is not a blanket approval.

I’m only reviewing medical records for research, and I already have access to Fairview medical record systems from my department. Do I need to go through NERS?

If your employment is solely for research purposes, and you are not a credentialed Fairview provider, the NERS process is the only way for you to access Fairview resources legitimately. If you have access, but do not know how you got it, you should contact FRA immediately.

If you continue to access the medical record without NERS approval, you are placing yourself at risk. Both Fairview and the AHC are very serious about enforcing privacy policies, and if you are not known as a legitimate user of the medical record you may be subject to disciplinary action.

What occupational health requirements apply?

Your occupational health requirements are determined by your employer. FRA will confirm your employer's occupational health policies align with Fairview's before you may access Fairview patients.

If you are employed by or working on behalf of the University of Minnesota, FRA will notify UMN Office of Occupational Health and Safety (UOHS) when you submit a NERS application. You are responsible for sending them the required documentation. If you have questions, please contact UOHS at uohs@umn.edu or 612-626-5008.

How do applicants obtain a Fairview Badge?

If you will be performing research inside of Fairview, you must apply for a Fairview badge. This requires a background check. The background check forms are available on our website. Please fill these out and submit them with your complete application. FRA will forward this information to Fairview Human Resources (HR), who will perform the background check.

If this screen reveals that you are not eligible to interact with Fairview patients, you will be notified. In this situation, the ruling of HR not to permit you to work at Fairview is final.

If this screen reveals that you are eligible, and you have completed all other approval requirements, FRA will send you the necessary security form to receive a badge. You will receive this with your NERS approval letter.

Applicants will need to bring the security form, along with two forms of identification (i.e. driver’s license and University employee badge) to the Security Office. Applicants should not sign the form until they present it to the Security staff to obtain a badge.

University of Minnesota Medical Center, Security Offices are located at the following locations:

East Bank: Mayo B-340

West Bank: M141 in the East Building

How long does NERS approval last?

NERS approval is effective for one year after the date you were approved (stated on your approval letter). FRA will send you an email reminder 30 days and 15 days before your approval expires. If we do not receive your renewal application by the day your approval lapses, your status will be inactivated. You will need to submit a new application to receive further approval.

Contact Information for questions or concerns:

E-mail Fairview Research Administration

Phone: 612-672-7690 or 612-672-7647