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Blood pressure

This photo shows a nurse taking a woman’s blood pressure with a blood pressure cuff. The nurse is pumping the cuff with her right hand and holding a stethoscope on the patient’s arm with her left hand.
A proficiency in anatomy and physiology is fundamental to any career in the health professions. (credit: Bryan Mason/flickr)

Chapter objectives

After studying this chapter, you will be able to:

  • Distinguish between anatomy and physiology, and identify several branches of each
  • Describe the structure of the body, from simplest to most complex, in terms of the six levels of organization
  • Identify the functional characteristics of human life
  • Identify the four requirements for human survival
  • Define homeostasis and explain its importance to normal human functioning
  • Use appropriate anatomical terminology to identify key body structures, body regions, and directions in the body
  • Compare and contrast at least four medical imagining techniques in terms of their function and use in medicine

Though you may approach a course in anatomy and physiology strictly as a requirement for your field of study, the knowledge you gain in this course will serve you well in many aspects of your life. An understanding of anatomy and physiology is not only fundamental to any career in the health professions, but it can also benefit your own health. Familiarity with the human body can help you make healthful choices and prompt you to take appropriate action when signs of illness arise. Your knowledge in this field will help you understand news about nutrition, medications, medical devices, and procedures and help you understand genetic or infectious diseases. At some point, everyone will have a problem with some aspect of his or her body and your knowledge can help you to be a better parent, spouse, partner, friend, colleague, or caregiver.

This chapter begins with an overview of anatomy and physiology and a preview of the body regions and functions. It then covers the characteristics of life and how the body works to maintain stable conditions. It introduces a set of standard terms for body structures and for planes and positions in the body that will serve as a foundation for more comprehensive information covered later in the text. It ends with examples of medical imaging used to see inside the living body.

Quiz PDF eBook: 
NU589 Program Outcomes
Download Nursing NU589 Quiz PDF eBook
10 Pages
English US
Educational Materials

Sample Questions from the NU589 Program Outcomes Quiz

Question: Which statement needs to be included when the nurse provides patient education for a patient with heart failure who is taking a daily dose of spironolactone (Aldactone)?


"Be sure to eat foods that are high in potassium"

"Avoid foods that are high in potassium"

"Avoid grapefruit juice while taking this medication"

" A low-fiber diet will help prevent adverse effects of this medication"

Question: When helping Mr. Jones turn in bed, the nurse notices that his heels are reddened and places him on precautions for skin breakdown. This is an example of:


Initial planning

Standardized planning

Ongoing planning

Discharge planning

Question: Your patient has developed a low-grade fever and states that they feel very tired lately. This phase of an infection is known as the:


incubation period

prodromal stage

full stage of illness

convalescent period

Question: When monitoring laboratory test results for patients receiving loop and thiazide diuretics, the nurse knows to look for:


Decreased serum levels of potassium

Increase serum levels of calcium

Decreased serum levels of glucose

Increased serum levels of sodium

Question: Mr. Jones has had a surgical procedure that necessitated a thoracic incision. You anticipate that he will have a higher risk for postoperative complications involving which body system?


respiratory system

circulatory system

digestive system

nervous system

Question: With aging, blood pressure is often higher due to:


loss of muscle mass

changes in exercise and diet

decreased peripheral resistance

decreased elasticity in arterial walls

Question: While taking an adult patient's pulse, a student finds the rate to be 140 beats/min. What should the student do next?


check the pulse again in 2 hours

check the blood pressure

record the information

report the rate

Question: As part of the assessment of cranial nerves, the nurse asks the patient to raise the eyebrows, smile, and show the teeth. These actions provide information about which cranial nerve?






Question: When percussing the thorax and lungs, a dull sound indicates:


an air-filled structure

a bony structure


fluid or a solid mass

Question: The leading cause of cognitive impairment in old age is:




Alzheimer's disease

Loss of cardiac reserve

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Kimberly Nichols
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