Smart Strategy: Anatomy & Physiology Review

Today starts the smart strategy of the day posts! You can expect 1-2 smart strategies a week. Today’s smart strategy is a real zinger. It takes you back to basics. It takes you straight to the core of your nursing knowledge: Anatomy & physiology (A&P).

Review A&P for 15 minutes at the start of each study session

You may be wondering: “I just finished pre-reqs! I thought I was moving on to actual nursing courses!” You are – but…

Nursing makes more sense when you’ve got a good hold on the foundations. You’ll need to review A&P throughout each semester of nursing school and even into your nursing career. A&P will never  go away.

Here’s how you’ll implement today’s smart strategy.

Once you’ve figured out what you’re studying for the day, grab your A&P book (or your med/surg book, which should have an A&P section at the beginning of the chapter), and a timer. Set the time for 15 minutes.

Dive into the material grabbing for:

  • anatomy
  • function
  • and major secretions

You want to focus on a simple understanding of normal. It’s information you’ll want to draw on quickly and easily when studying all that’s gone wrong in your nursing course. For example, create a flow chart: thyroid gland > follicles > thyroglobulin in colloid > tyrosine > building block for thyroid hormones// thyroid gland > c cells > produce calcitonin.

Then make a list of thyroid hormone functions:

  • increase O2 rate consumption
  • increase heart rate, contraction, BP
  • maintain respiratory centers
  • stimulate RBC production (increase 02)
  • stimulate other organs
  • increase turnover in bones

This simple breakdown of a complex organ and physiologic system within the body will give your brain a fresh reference point to turn to when studying the endocrine section. You’ll further solidify the knowledge in your mind at the same time.

All this information is easy to forget when you get into your nursing courses. You’ll be too focused on the signs and symptoms of hyper- or hypothyroidism. When you start with a review of A&P you can clearly see a link between the anatomy and function of the thyroid gland and hormones and the signs and symptoms.

The point being that as you critically think through a nursing question, you can run through this easy list or flow chart to uncover the processes behind it all and figure out what interventions are needed to resolve or ease signs and symptoms.

Let’s be honest – there’s a lot to remember, and there’s no way you can remember it all. Give yourself the extra boost by reviewing A&P for 15 minutes at the start of each study session. You’ll experience a surge in confidence, while improving your retention rate.

Happy Studying,


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