The vital signs – heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, respiration rate, and pain – communicate important information about the physiological status of the human body. In this six-part course we explore the anatomy and physiology underlying the vital signs so that you will develop a systematic, integrated understanding of how the body functions. Relevant body systems are reviewed including cardiovascular and respiratory, followed by explanations of how the function of these systems affects vital signs. We discuss normal ranges, normal variants, and the mechanisms that underlie changes in the objective measurement of vital signs. The course also includes demonstrations of appropriate techniques for measuring vital signs in yourself and others.
The course is designed for a broad, general audience but will be particularly interesting for individuals working in healthcare, those considering a career as a healthcare professional, lay caregivers, those with an interest in personal health and fitness, or anyone who simply wants to understand how the body functions.
Week 1: Pulse/Heart Rate This week we start our exploration of the vital signs with a look at the heart. We'll study the basic structure of the heart, think about how the heart pumps blood through the body, and learn how clinicians assess and think about heart rate and the pulse.
Week 2: Blood Pressure During week 2 we will learn about the anatomy of the blood vessels and how they function. You will have a better understanding of systolic and diastolic blood pressure, mean arterial pressure, and assessing blood pressure accurately.
Week 3: Metabolism This week we will explore metabolism. We will discuss anabolism and catabolism, basal metabolic rate, how the body generates heat. You will also have a better understanding of how health care providers assess metabolic rate.
Week 4: Temperature During week 4 you will learn the definition of mean body temperature and how the body regulates temperature. We will discuss hypothermia and the difference between hyperthermia and fever. Lastly, you will learn how to assess body temperature.
Week 5: Respiration Rate This week we will learn about pulmonary anatomy, capillary gas exchange, and regulation of respiration. You will have a better understanding of how health care providers assess respiration rate and the quality of lung sounds.
Week 6: Pain This week we will explore the neurological pathways associated with pain, and the difference between pain tolerance and pain threshold. We will understand what pain is telling us and why accurately assessing and effectively managing pain are important. In addition, we will review how healthcare providers asses pain.
MOOCs stand for Massive Open Online Courses. These arefree online courses from universities around the world (eg. StanfordHarvardMIT) offered to anyone with an internet connection.
How do I register?
To register for a course, click on "Go to Class" button on the course page. This will take you to the providers website where you can register for the course.
How do these MOOCs or free online courses work?
MOOCs are designed for an online audience, teaching primarily through short (5-20 min.) pre recorded video lectures, that you watch on weekly schedule when convenient for you. They also have student discussion forums, homework/assignments, and online quizzes or exams.
I love this course! I was pleasantly surprised for how much I did love it. Not only was it informative but it was fun; something a lot of classes don't do that well. Dr. Scanga is an amazing lecturer and I would, gladly, take another class with her. She has a passion for what she does and it shows every time she teaches. I just completed the course; only awaiting my certificate.
Kristina Bogoviccompleted this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
Vital Signs is probably one of the best lectured courses on Coursera. The professor Scanga teaches and explains everything with a group of students on screen, making it a great classroom atmosphere. Every information is explained and clarified to be a simple fact.
This is probably one of the BEST of courses on Coursera. Dr. Scanga is an amazing teacher. She is so engrossed in what is teaching that her lectures come out like stories ... it is as if she is narrating a story. She is one rare teacher, who delivers higher education as vividly and dramatically as nursery education!
Especially enjoyed her use of a small-classroom format, allowing us to feel a part of the group and to ask ourselves the same questions she asked her students-- the retrieval of information from our memories is a known way to enhance learning.
Renee Lynescompleted this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
I loved this course so much! Dr. Scanga was an amazing teacher who explained each and everything she taught very thorough, which was a huge help since this was my first online college course. It's definitely a course worth taking!
I enjoyed the course very much, including Dr. Scanga's engaging lecture style. I didn't give the course 5 starts because there was no supplementary documentation for medical terms, etc. The only way to review the material was to watch the video again.
Maxime Zabiégocompleted this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
Interesting, easy-going course. Clear presentation of introductory notions regarding human physiology (good place to start with, for anyone considering taking some more advanced course on human physiology, such as the one proposed by Duke University). Too bad it's missing lecture notes...
Peter M Abrahamcompleted this course, spending 5 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
The lectures were extremely well done and interesting. The quizzes often had a related case study. The only thing stopping me from giving this 5 stars is that often times the case study items were not discussed in the lectures. So knowing the right answer from the material was not always possible.
A Gulaticompleted this course and found the course difficulty to be medium.
Love! Love!! Loved this course!!! Informative, engaging and fun. Dr. Connie Scanga is absolutely amazing as a lecturer and I'd take any course she took even if vaguely interested in the subject. THANK YOU Dr Scanga and the team.