Pathophysiology studies physical and biological abnormalities that occur in the body due to a condition or disease. Pathophysiology is regarded as the foundation of nursing practice in some ways because it helps outline a nurse’s main responsibilities, such as assisting in the treatment of acute and chronic illnesses, managing medications, assisting with diagnostic tests, and managing general health care and disease prevention for patients and their families. Nurses who understand the pathophysiology and recognize its signs and symptoms can provide better-advanced care.
A carefully designed and clinically effective degree program, such as an online Master of Science in Nursing, can help students assess their future in the ever-changing nursing field and identify pathophysiology as a desirable practice choice to accelerate learning potential.
Pathophysiology in Nursing
Pathophysiology is a discipline that applies to a wide range of nursing duties, particularly when assisting in the prevention and diagnosis of the diseases listed below.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 6.2 million people in the United States are diagnosed with heart failure yearly (CDC). This serious condition is caused by various factors, the most common of which are hypertension, myocardial infarction, diabetes, and heart disease. Each of these conditions manifests in various symptoms that emerge as the heart fails. Nurse practitioners must have a thorough understanding of the pathophysiology of heart failure to recognize the associated symptoms and determine the most effective course of treatment.
Although heart failure has a high morbidity rate, there are certain treatment methods that nurses and other healthcare professionals can use to reduce symptoms and extend the lives of their patients.
Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder caused by increased dopamine loss in the brain. This common disease typically affects people over 60 and causes progressive disability. Although there is no cure, early detection and treatment can help slow symptoms’ progression. Nurse practitioners trained in the pathophysiology of Parkinson’s disease can begin patients on neuroprotective treatment, deep brain stimulation, and symptomatic drug therapy, as well as educate patients and their families on how the disease will affect their lives.
The most recent CDC data (2018) show that 42.4% of adults in the United States are obese. Obesity can lead to significant metabolic, organ, and immune dysfunction, leading to various serious and often fatal conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and certain cancers. Nurses can help reduce obesity in children and adults by recognizing early signs and symptoms.
A pathophysiology is a tool that nurses can use to stay ahead of obesity-related problems. Nurses can reduce the risk of dangerous conditions in obese patients by raising awareness and teaching patients about diet, exercise, and other aspects of a healthy lifestyle. In severe cases, nurses may assist patients in managing their weight loss through prescription medication or bariatric surgery.
This chronic inflammatory disorder causes recurring painful symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and wheezing when an individual’s airways become blocked. Airborne allergens or irritants can trigger asthma attacks.
Nurses who have studied the pathophysiology of this condition understand that the body’s response includes bronchoconstriction, mucus buildup in the airways, edema, and inflammation. Nurses’ roles include advising patients with this condition on how to manage pain and discomfort, avoid allergens and other triggers, and treat asthma with prescription medications.
Pathophysiology is a subject that all nurse practitioners must learn. Understanding the concept and its practical application provides nurses with a comprehensive understanding of how diseases affect their patients and which treatments are most effective.
Nursing Pathophysiology Definition
Pathophysiology studies the effects of a disease, syndrome, or other conditions on how people feel and interact with the world. It can range from determining the cause of a headache (pinched nerve, dehydration, stress, or something else) to more serious situations, such as why people with Bell’s palsy may be unable to drink from a straw.
It is another way of asking “why?” for nurses. What is causing the patient’s pain/difficulty/frustration? Mastery of pathophysiology in nursing can help nurses understand why any abnormal health changes have occurred in a patient, why they happened, and what can be done about them quickly and accurately. By observing these changes and their effects, nurses can better communicate with doctors and other medical professionals about how the patient’s treatment may evolve.
Pathophysiology Requirements for Nurses in Practice
To use pathophysiology correctly and effectively, nurses must develop soft and field-specific skills (general-purpose skills).
Excellent clinical knowledge
To effectively apply pathophysiology to daily nursing practice, the nurse must thoroughly understand acute and chronic diseases and their effects on the human body. The nurse must also be knowledgeable about medications and other treatments used to treat the patient’s symptoms.
When applying pathophysiological principles to diagnosing and analyzing a patient’s disease or injury, nurse practitioners benefit from adept critical thinking skills. Professionals who can synthesize clinical data quickly and accurately can better help patients cope and implement timely preventive measures.
When coordinating care, nurses must communicate effectively both orally and in writing. They must be able to communicate with physicians and other healthcare professionals about the diagnoses and treatments of their patients. Nurse practitioners also teach patients how to treat their conditions and keep them from worsening.
It is not enough to understand what skills a nurse requires. Even more important is the practical and effective application of each skill. This makes it easier to understand not only what pathophysiology is on a conceptual level but also how it can be used to help patients.
Unleash Your Nursing Potential
The online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program at Ohio University is designed to help students who want to advance their nursing careers by providing them with the necessary skills and experience.
The curriculum includes three specializations from which to choose, allowing you to tailor your education to your preferences. Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, and Nurse Educator are some of the specializations available.
Module 1 Live Classroom Assignment Code Word: perseverance