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University of Pennsylvania

Vital Signs: Understanding What the Body Is Telling Us

University of Pennsylvania via Coursera


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.

Taught by

Connie Scanga


4.5 rating, based on 51 Class Central reviews

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

  • Loved this course! Learned lots of information in an easy and clear way to understand. Recommended to anyone going into the health field or interested in learning about vital signs.
  • 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.
  • This is a course that I should have taken even before medical school. Dr. Scanga and her team did an excellent job of simplifying and integrating key concepts regarding vital signs - most often the healthcare providers' first source of insight to the condition of the patient in front of them. Very rarely in my medical education have I experienced an integrative approach in discussing the anatomy and physiology of these important entities. Unsurprisingly, this has led to better retention of the knowledge on my part. To those who are planning to study or are already studying medicine or human biology at the very least, this offering is highly recommended.
  • Kristina Bogovic

    Kristina Bogovic 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.
  • Rosemarie

    Rosemarie is taking this course right now.

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

    Renee Lynes 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 Zabiégo 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 M Abraham

    Peter M Abraham 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.
  • 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!
  • Sandy Raddssangylla Da Costa Maciel
    Gostaria de ter conhecimento na area para entender como funciona esse linguagem.

    Que pra me e uma curiozidade

  • Anonymous
    It was a really good experience to join that course and review my knowledge, as healthcare providers we need to upgrade our knowledge and skills frequently and that course helped me a lot to understand and remember why vital signs are so important. Thank you so much!
  • Profile image for Jenny D.
    Jenny D.

    Jenny D. 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.
  • A Gulati

    A Gulati 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.
  • Anonymous
    Well developed, lots of learning opportunities, basic knowledge for health students. Gives you opportunity to have own records of achievements
  • Angela Deanna Garnett 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!
  • 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

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