NURS 4430 Introduction to Neuroanatomy

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NURS 4430 Week 1: Introduction to Neuroanatomy

The human brain is organized into the cerebral cortex, brainstem, subcortical structures, and the cerebellum. These anatomical structures are made of inter-connected elements that create distributed and highly inter-connected circuits. It is in these circuits where cognition, behavior, and affect are processed.
—Camprodon, J. A., & Roffman, J. L. (2016, p. 6)

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By using a combination of psychotherapy and medication therapy, psychiatric nurse practitioners (PNP) are positioned to provide a very unique type of care to patients with psychiatric disorders. To be successful in this role, you must have a strong theoretical foundation in pathophysiology, psychopharmacology, and neuroscience. This foundation will help you assess, diagnose, and treat patients as you relate presenting symptoms to theoretical neuronal functioning.
This week, as you begin to study psychopharmacology, you will explore the basic functional unit of the nervous system, the neuron. You will review the structure of the neuron and you will examine the anatomy of the central nervous system and consider the functionality of the different structure and outward (phenotypic) expression of their activities. You will analyze these concepts as you complete your short answer assessment for this week.

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Reference:
Camprodon, J. A., & Roffman, J. L. (2016). Psychiatric neuroscience: Incorporating pathophysiology into clinical case formulation. In T. A. Stern, M. Favo, T. E. Wilens, & J. F. Rosenbaum. (Eds.), Massachusetts General Hospital psychopharmacology and neurotherapeutics (pp. 1–19). Elsevier.

Learning Objectives
Students will:

  • Describe the functions and structures of the central nervous system
  • Describe the different structures that make up the neuron
  • Explain the function of neurons in intracellular communication

Assignment: Short Answer Assessment

As a psychiatric nurse practitioner, before you can recommend potential pharmacotherapeutics to address a patient’s condition or disorder, you must understand the basic function and structure of the neuron and central nervous system. For this Assignment, you will review and apply your understanding of neuroanatomy by addressing a set of short answer prompts.
To Prepare:

  • Review the Learning Resources for this week in preparation to complete this Assignment.
  • Reflect on the basic function and structure of the neuron in relation to the central nervous system.
  • Reflect on the inter-connectedness between neurons and the central nervous system, including the pathway and distribution of electrical impulses.
  • Reflect on how neurons communicate with each other and review the concept of neuroplasticity.

To complete:

Address the following Short Answer prompts for your Assignment. Be sure to include references to the Learning Resources for this week.

  • In 4 or 5 sentences, describe the anatomy of the basic unit of the nervous system, the neuron. Include each part of the neuron and a general overview of electrical impulse conduction, the pathway it travels, and the net result at the termination of the impulse. Be specific and provide examples.
  • Answer the following (listing is acceptable for these questions):
    What are the major components that make up the subcortical structures?
    Which component plays a role in learning, memory, and addiction?
    What are the two key neurotransmitters located in the nigra striatal region of the brain that play a major role in motor control?
  • In 3 or 4 sentences, explain how glia cells function in the central nervous system. Be specific and provide examples.
  • The synapse is an area between two neurons that allows for chemical communication. In 3 or 4 sentences, explain what part of the neurons are communicating with each other and in which direction does this communication occur? Be specific.
  • In 3–5 sentences, explain the concept of “neuroplasticity.” Be specific and provide examples.

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