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Anatomy & Physiology

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Anatomy and Physiology are subjects required for anyone wanting to enter the profession of nursing.

While easier to some than others, A&P sets the foundation for nursing school, so having a solid understanding what certain parts of the body are and how they function, will only better your chances for success in nursing school!


Anatomy is defined as "the branch of science concerned with the bodily structure of humans, animals, and other living organisms, especially as revealed by dissection and the separation of parts."

Term Origin

Anatomy comes from the Latin anatomia

This basically means that anatomy is the study of the individual parts of living things. In nursing, you are learning the parts of the human body, and where they are in relation to each other.


 When studying anatomy, you are asking questions like, "What are the parts of the brain, or the fingers and toes."


In nursing, it's all about naming and defining parts of the body, and knowing where they are, and how to identify them by direction.

In the medical field, you will learn directional terms like distal, and proximal (away from & close to) and will be able to properly identify where something is in relation to something else. 


Physiology is defined as "a branch of biology that deals with the functions and activities of life or of living matter (such as organs, tissues, or cells) and of the physical and chemical phenomena involved."

Term Origin

Physiology comes from the Latin physiologia

This basically means that physiology is the study of the relationships between the parts of living things. You will learn all the different systems of the body, and how each of them affects the other.

When studying physiology, you are asking questions like, "How does the heart pump blood around the body, and how does that blood give oxygen to the rest of the body?"

In nursing, physiology is all about knowing how one thing affects another. "If kidneys are only working at 50%, how is that going to affect the rest of the body?"

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