The Revision Guide for Student Nurses (Part I)

Systems of the Body

This chapter covers the systems of the body (apart from the skeletal system, which is described in Part I - Chapter 8).

Basic terms and definitions are covered briefly in Module 1, but a more comprehensive study guide can be found in Module 1 of Both Chapters 8 and 9.

The learning objective of this chapter is to establish an excellent knowledge of ANATOMY = the structure of the body, and PHYSIOLOGY = how the body functions. Each system of the body is comprised of a group of tissues and organs which work together to perform a specific function.

Students often do not find the theory of anatomy and physiology as interesting as the more practical subjects which involve hands-on nursing. However, a thorough grounding in the structure and functioning of the body is essential before you move on to more complex subjects in Year II such as Radiography and Medical Nursing.

The learning modules are as follows:

  • Basic terms and definitions - also see Module 1 of Chapters 8 & 9.
  • The nervous system - the co-ordinating system which receives and interprets information received by the body and enables the function of the correct response or reaction.
  • The special senses - a subgroup of the nervous system concerning olfaction (smell), vision, hearing, balance and taste.
  • The endocrine system - the co-ordinating system responsible for communication within the body by chemical messengers called hormones.
  • The digestive system - the visceral system responsible for the ingestion and utilisation of food substances and the excretion of waste.
  • The respiratory system - the visceral system responsible for the gaseous exchange between animal and environment.
  • The urinary system - the visceral system responsible for the removal of waste from the body.
  • The reproductive system - the visceral system responsible for replication.
  • The integument - the structural system concerned with the covering of the body; comprising skin, hair (or feathers) and nails.
  • The cardiovascular system - the structural system responsible for the circulation of the blood around the body; therefore also known as the circulatory system.
  • The hepatic portal system - a subgroup of the cardiovascular system responsible for the transport of products of digestion from the gut to the liver.
  • The lymphatic system - a subgroup of the cardiovascular system responsible for returning excessive fluid to the circulation, filtering of bacteria and foreign substances, production of lymphocytes and the transport of digested foods (especially fats).
  • The immune system - a subgroup of the circulatory system responsible for the protection of the body against invasion by foreign matter.