SO how much pathophysiology do nurses actually need to know? In my opinion – quite a LOT!
A med/ surg nurse does not need to go as much in depth into patho as a critical care nurse, but they should still know more than just the basic anatomy. Pathophysiology is the foundation behind the “things” that we actually do and the reason behind why we do these “things”, such as in hanging a specific IV fluid, giving a certain medication or checking orthostatic vitals.
In nursing school we covered everything from the cellular level up; however, most nurses will probably never need to remember the Kreb’s cycle or the functions of ribosomes. BUT you should know what a glomerulus is as it affects the glomerular filtration rate, which is one of the most important lab values that tells us about someone’s renal function.
Personally, I think that knowing pathophysiology is really interesting and something that gives me confidence. I remember listening in awe to the ICU and ER nurses when they talked about deteriorating patients and wondered if I would ever know as much as they did. For me, a day at work where I get to learn something new is always a good day.
As a new grad, I found myself searching through nursing school notes in order to review some of the anatomy and pathophysiology that I had forgotten. However, the enormous pile of papers left over from school filled an entire storage bench in my bedroom (and still does) and I just didn’t have the energy sort through them; especially because nursing school was finally over!! It was easier to just google the information or watch youtube videos. I wished I’d had some condensed overview of everything that I needed to know for my new job. I mean the stuff that we ACTUALLY need to know!
SO this is my attempt to help any nurse or student nurse needing a refresher or a study platform in anatomy and pathophysiology, nursing skills, treatments and interventions. I try to covers topics that I as a med/surg nurse have found important to know in my every day job. And once in a while I will also throw in a few posts about some of my off-work interest that help me cope when working full-time as an ER nurse.
Please leave a comment to let me know if there’s any topic that you would like to see covered on this website and I will be happy to include it 🙂