Nursing Classes: Learning Pathophysiology

Nursing schools are joined by just about every other healthcare education institution in the United States in the study of pathophysiology and it is a common course taught to nearly all medical students in the nation. It is a minimum requirement for a health degree of any kind, including paramedics, pharmacists, and doctors. Therefore, pathophysiology is a required course for any level of degree in nursing schools.

The class teaches nursing students about the impact that diseases and medical conditions have on the general mechanical behavior and chemical processes that normally occur in the human body, as well as how these behaviors and processes occur. Knowing pathophysiology will help nursing students learn to detect the early onset of a disease or condition and quickly remedy problems as soon as they arise if the patient is hospitalized. Pathophysiology nursing classes also teach nursing students how to figure out why a sudden change has occurred in a new or existing patient.

In most nursing schools, classes on this topic will first focus on pathogenesis; the mechanism or process that causes a specific disease. Specifically, nursing classes discuss how cells and tissue structures change as well as the impact of family history and chemical functions on the development of a disease.

As this nursing class progresses, students typically study case by case examples to provide a solid foundation of knowledge in the concepts of disease and chemical processes in the body. Then students will learn how to apply this information to mock patient files; attempting to discern normal physiological process from those that might be disease related.

Later in pathophysiology nursing classes, students must combine all of the knowledge they have accumulated thus far to determine a proper course of treatment for patients who are developing a disease or condition as well as patients who have already developed a disease. This involves learning how to alter the process that is occurring and influence the body system by understanding how the body compensates for abnormal pathophysiology.

In addition to patient assessment and care, this nursing class also discusses how abnormal pathophysiology observed in the patient will affect them over their lifetime and how treatments will affect the patient. The class will also cover any legalities, ethical issues, and political implications that these types of diseases and treatments carry through various historical cases.

Pathology is a similar study that is discussed in nursing classes for all degree levels. That’s because pathology and pathophysiology are closely related medical studies regarding the behavior and effect of disease. The primary difference between the two studies is their emphasis – pathology focuses on observation and pathophysiology focuses on measurements. In nursing classes, students learn that pathophysiological changes in the body’s processes will happen before a certain condition develops or as a result of a condition that has already developed.


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