Structure and Function of the Human Body I

  • code 07883
  • course 1
  • term Semester 1
  • type FB
  • credits 6

Module: Health Sciences Module

Matter: Human Anatomy

Main language of instruction: Spanish

  TU 08:00 10:00 
  WE 10:00 12:00 
  TH 12:00 14:00 

Teaching staff

Head instructor

Dra. Betlem MEZQUITA -

Office hours

  • For best performance make an appointment with the teacher via e-mail.


This course is designed to help nursing students understand how the human body functions and is organized.

Professional nurses should possess a precise knowledge of the development, localization and function of the organs in the human body. Only in this way will they be able to offer quality and safe care to the patient.

The integrated knowledge of Anatomy and Physiology facilitates the understanding of the mechanisms through which diseases affect patients, as well as the logic of the various forms of treatment. Knowledge of Anatomy and Physiology is also very useful for understanding diagnostic tests and the metabolism of medication.

The aim of the course is to teach students the structure and function of the human body so they can learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of diseases. In addition, this course puts special emphasis on the training of our future professionals as educators in the health habits of the population, a task in which the nursing staff considers essential work.

Pre-course requirements

No prerequisites required


Human Body I consists of the following parts:

  1. Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology of the human body.
  2. Structure and function of the Integumentary system.
  3. Structure and function of the Locomotor system.
  4. Structure and function of Integration systems: Nervous system and Endocrine system.

At the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Know the human body on a global basis, understanding the interrelationships that exist between the different organs and systems to maintain the homeostasis.
  2. 2 Master the terminology used in the fields of Anatomy and Physiology.
  3. Know the structure and function of the musculoskeletal system, nervous system and the endocrine system.
  4. Acquire the skills necessary for the identification of anatomical structures studied.
  5. Acquire the skills necessary for clinical application of the acquired knowledge.
  6. Be familiar with the scientific method. Promote reasoning and discussion of problems.
  7. Know the primary sources of information.
  8. Acquire the necessary attitudes for the future in their professional careers.
  9. Have curiosity for the surrounding world and a longing to know more.


  • 1. G - Ability to provide technical and professional health care appropriate to the health needs of the people they treat, with full technical and scientific autonomy, according to current and available scientific knowledge and to the quality standards and safety requirements set forth in the applicable legal standards and code of ethics.
  • 22. G - Use and management of information and research
  • 23. B - Ability to analyze and synthesize.
  • 25. E - Knowledge of the field of study
  • 6. E - Base nursing care on scientific evidence and available resources.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course students will know the structural characteristics and the functions of organs and systems that make up the human body as well as understand their development throughout the different stages of life, and have ability to establish relationships between them. In addition, they will learn basic functional examinations of these systems in relation to the nursing profession, with an understanding based on anatomical and physiological criteria.



1. Introduction to Anatomy.

1.1 Anatomy Field: levels of structural organization.

1.2 Anatomy Terminology: central focus and layout. Regions, cavities and membranes.

1.3 Tissue Structure: epithelial, connective, nervous and muscular. Lining surfaces: cutaneous, mucous and synovial membrane.

2. Introduction to Physiology.

2.1 Physiology Field: Functions of life.

2.2 Physiology Terminology: homeostasis and regulation.


1. Skin: the epidermis and the dermis components.

2. Cutaneous Annexes: sweat and sebaceous glands, hair follicles and nails.

3. Skin Function.

4. Skin development and repair. Burns: associated risks and treatment.


1. The Human Skeleton.

1.1 The axial skeleton: skull, spine and ribcage.

1.2 The appendicular skeleton: girdle, upper extremities, pelvis and lower extremities.

2. Articulations.

2.1 Structural and functional classification of joints.

2.2 Fibrous and cartilaginous joints.

2.3 Synovial joint structure and elements that determine their mobility.

2.4 Movement and functional classification of Synovial joints.

3. The Muscular System.

3.1. Muscular groups from the functional point of view.

3.2. Nomenclature of muscles according to location, structure and function.

3.3. Limb muscles, trunk, head and neck.  

4. Bone Function

4.1 Functions of bones.

4.2 Bone Composition. Functions of osteoblasts, osteocytes, and osteoclasts.

4.3 Bone development and growth. Concept of bone remodeling.

4.4 Calcitonin, parathormone and vitamin D effects on the metabolism of the Ca2+.

4.5 Estrogen and hormone effects on bone growth.

4.6 Bone density (BMD): concept and measurement

4.7 Importance of nutrition, physical activity and hormonal levels for bone health.

4.9 Concepts and risks of osteoporosis. 

4.10 Bone fractures. Repair mechanisms.

5. Muscular function

5.1 Types of muscle fibers. Functions of the skeletal musculature.

5.2 Organization of the muscle fiber and contraction mechanisms.

5.3 Concept of motor units. Classification of muscle fibers.

5.4 Muscle mechanics. Muscle tension and determinants

5.5 Dynamic muscle contraction ("isotonic") and static (“isometric”).

5.6 Muscular progression and regression. Muscular changes following immobilization.



1. Fundamentals of the nervous system.

1.1 Structural and functional organization of the nervous tissue.

1.2 Histology of nervous tissue: neurons and glial cells.

1.3 Resting potential, graded potential and action potential.

1.4 Neural synapses, neurotransmitters and potential integration.

1.5 Neuronal integration: circuits.

2. Central nervous system (CNS).

2.1 The brain: Embryological Development and organization. Structure and function of its components.

2.2 Higher mental functions: tracing EEG, consciousness, sleep-wake, language and memory cycle.

2.3 Functional anatomy of the spinal cord.

2.4 Protection of the CNS: meninges, cerebrospinal fluid, blood-brain barrier.

3. Peripheral nervous system (PNs).

3.1 Nerves: structure and regeneration.

3.2 Spinal nerves: plexuses and dermatomes.

3.3 Sensory receptors and sensory integration: the sensation of perception.

3.4 Neuromuscular junction and motor integration: the intention to the effects.

3.5 Reflex arc and spinal reflexes.

4. Autonomic Nervous System (ANS).

4.1 Function, divisions and comparison with the somatic nervous system.

4.2 Basic anatomy of the parasympathetic and sympathetic ANS.

4.3 Physiology of the ANS: neurotransmitters, receptors and interactions between divisions.

4.4 ANS Control.

5. Special Sensory Organs.

5.1 Vision: structure of the eye, retinal transduction, visual integration.

5.2 Ear and balance: components of the ear. Vestibular and auditory function.

5.3 Taste and smell: localization of receptors, signal transduction, perception.


1. Endocrine system.

1.1 Hormone mechanisms and effects.

1.2 Hormone secretion control.

1.3 Structure and function of the pituitary gland, thyroid, parathyroid gland, adrenal gland, pancreas, gonads and pineal gland.

1.4 Other hormone-producing organs.

Teaching and learning activities

  • Students complete all courses within the thematic blocks.
  • In addition, students should perform in the classes with a practical and applied character when studying Anatomy and Physiology in this course.
Mater Class
Case Method
Lab Practice
Group Tutorials
Virtual Learning
1. G 20. B 21. B 22. G 23. B 25. E 6. E 6

Evaluation systems and criteria

  • Continued Evaluation: Each week questions and activities will be laid out via the intranet and the students must complete them. Participation in the proposed class activities proposed will also be evaluated. It corresponds to 20% of the final grade of the course.
  • Mid-term exam: short-answer questions and test questions. Corresponds to 30% of the final mark for the course.
  • Final examination: short-answer questions and test questions. It corresponds to 50% of the final mark for the course.

(*) To acquire the knowledge of the material it is necessary to pass the final exam with a mark equal or higher than 5, and that the calculation of the final grade is equal to or greater than 5. Students who have taken two make up exams will be required to surpass a 5 or more in the next make up exam in order to be able to pass the course. No Honor registrations will be awarded in the 2nd make up exam.


The final grade of this subject will be affected by the non-attendance to any of the 3 leadership tutorials of each semester in the following proportion: 0.5 points if missing in the 3 occasions; 0.4 points if you miss 2 tutorials and 0.3 if you miss 1 tutorial. This rule will apply to approved students and unca will be subject to suspension of the subject.

Bibliography and resources

- Marieb, Hoehn. Anatomía y fisiología humana. Editorial Pearson.
- Patton, Thibodeau. Anatomía y fisiología. Editorial Elsevier.
- Mezquita. Fisiología Médica: Del razonamiento fisiológico al razonamiento clínico. Editorial. Panamericana.
- Silverthorn. Fisiología Humana: Un enfoque integrado. Editorial Panamericana.

Evaluation period

E: exam date | R: revision date | 1: first session | 2: second session:

  • E1 15/01/2020 10:00h
  • R1 03/02/2020 14:00h
  • E2 25/06/2020 10:00h
  • R2 09/07/2020 10:00h
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