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Best of All-Time Online Course

Vital Signs: Understanding What the Body Is Telling Us

University of Pennsylvania via Coursera

Overview

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.

Syllabus

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.

Taught by

Connie Scanga

Reviews

4.5 rating, based on 46 reviews

Start your review of Vital Signs: Understanding What the Body Is Telling Us

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    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 B.

    Kristina completed 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.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    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!

    THANK YOU Dr.Scanga. You are just wonderful.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    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 L.

    Renee completed 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!
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    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 completed 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 A.

    Peter completed 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.
  • Rosemarie

    Rosemarie is taking this course right now.

    I tried to enroll and they asked for $49.....how is this for free? That is very misleading, I am unemployed and looking to improve my skill set.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    I higly recommend this course- it is an excellent course and Professor Scanga is one of a kind teacher. Thank you again for every thing, Professor Scanga!
  • A completed 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.
  • Angela completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    I really enjoyed this course and the ease of understanding the content. I printed the whole thing! I CANT WAIT FOR MY CERTIFICATE AND TO SHARE THIS INFORMATION WITH MY COWORKERS..
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Dr. Scanga is a wonderful lecturer, has a very well elaborated and effective teaching skills and is a lovely person. I am very thankful to her for her lectures! Enjoyed and learned a lot!
  • Profile image for Xiomara Reyes Palomino
    Xiomara P.

    Xiomara is taking this course right now, spending 1 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    Hola quisiera ver el video completo para tener conocimiento sobre los signos vitales si fueran tan amables de compartirlo, gracias.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    It is important for the society to be aware of what is going on and this platform has made me be able to understand other underlying issue in human body

    Thanks for the course
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Awsome i have finished this course, i am waiting th certification with Dr Scanga´signature i feel very happy
  • Marjolein V.

    Marjolein is taking this course right now, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be very hard.

    This course was just too hard for me, top many anatomy terms and concepts werd considered known. But it did look professional.
  • Guerrier L.

    Guerrier completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    Hello every body !

    Oh great ! It's a very good course. I learn so much things on the human body. The "vital signs" is one of the more interisting course.
  • Profile image for Jenny D.
    Jenny D.

    Jenny completed this course and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    Excellent way of presenting the material and the professor is phenomenal! Even though I've been working in the health care field for some time now and come across most of the material, I still found the knowledge to be insightful. I have a better understanding of these concepts after taking this course. Highly recommended and can easily be done in less than 6 weeks.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Fantastic course. As a former EMT and retired Health teacher, I was curious about how much information I would get from it. I was very pleasantly surprised. Kudos to Dr. Connie Scanga, the other instructors and their guest speakers, and the students who participated for creating a very enjoyable and informative course.

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