On Monday 18th decemeber 2017 at 10:00am I went to an event held by the university called: Know Your Organs. The university did not disappoint. This event was an extra few days put on and run by our lecturers; something they did not have to do but they did. To enhance our learning. They saw something practical to include as a bonus to the course and went out and did it for us!
As a student nurse you must make the most of your free time to learn and enhance your skills. Any opportunity thrown at you, take it!
Anyway, onto the day… I arrived, excited to put on my lab coat and goggles! Looking around the room I could see all the plastic trays full of various organs. Some I recognised and some I had no clue what they were. My first mistake of the day; holding the myocardium (heart) the wrong way around 😂 Took me a few seconds to realise I was holding it upside down! Whoops. Sorry all haha! Big no no….
Our fellow student was helping out with the teaching of this session, she absolutely loves all things cardiology and she was a big help with this part of the day 🙂 I feel this is a good way to learn too, by interacting with students as well as the lecturers. We were questioned on what parts were called and what they did along with different conditions you can get with the heart. Talking about the different valves, chambers of the heart and conditions such as atrial fibrillation and heart failure. The heart looked exactly how I imagined it to look, absolutely beautiful.
Our next station was the lungs; which was one of my biggest surprises during the day. They were quite soft and heavy but felt a little bit like silky bubble wrap if you run your finger over the surface. But when they were inflated they were like clouds, they felt as if they were lighter!? It was amazing, obviously they do not weigh any less, but due to the pressure it felt it.
We had a play with parts like the trachea too! The lecturer also showed us how a small battery resting on the Oesophagus can cause so much damage in the matter of seconds! Was very intersting / scary to see and the worry behind a child swallowing a battery. Great for child nurses to see this.
Our next station was the Liver, which was so much bigger than I imagined. I always assumed liver was tiny? I’m not sure why. I knew this was the liver from the very dark colour it was.
The liver filters the blood that comes from the digestive tract and makes proteins important for clotting functions. It secretes bile.
We also had a look it and the gallbladder attached to it (The yellow part in the image)… which had a very nasty smell haha! Full of bile… thank you team!
Followed by the marvellous stomach! Can we survive without our stomach? My initial response was ‘no?’ But yes we can! Something I learnt from this station.
I think I was basing this on my own stomach and how much I love food. I do not think I would survive haha! And now I was hungry thinking about it all. The stomach looked exactly how I imagined it, thankfully haha. No more surprises, blowing my mind today thank you. I’ll be awake all night thinking about these organs otherwise.
We had a look at the instestines whilst we were there too!
Following this we had the pancreas, which, I had no expectations of to be honest. I was not sure what one looked like and only briefly know what it does! My physiology needs improving that’s for sure.
The pancreas creates hormones such as insuline which converts glucose into glycogen. Failure of insuline results in diabetes. Something I am sure I will be learning all about in my next module for diabetes!
Then we have the spleen?! Which actually freaked me out, out of all of them, mainly because it reminded me of a leech and I do not like leeches…. I did not have any clue about the spleen or how it should look.
The spleen acts as a blood filter, controlling the amount of red blood cells mainly and helps fight any infection. You CAN live without your spleen surprisingly! I did know this question as I had a patient previously without a spleen and had to be on penicillin for it.
Next to this we had the bladder, now this shocked me at how small it looks! I assumed it was bigger in size and not so rounded?. It looked like a little poached egg sitting there without fluids. But once pumped with fluids it expanded a lot larger! Now these were all pig organs, so the sizes may vary. Apparently it’s the closest we get to human organs. We put water into the bladder and saw how it comes out the urethra and our physiologist talked us through the muscle contactions involved in continence.
Then finally the kidneys. Which I have probably the most knowledge on! From the last two exams ‘nursing practice 1’. The renal system was my worst topic for some reason so I did extra revision around it to ensure I knew enough to pass the second exam. I feel confident on the kidneys now. It was good to see the kidney and were the nephron / medulla would sit inside and the renal pelvis area followed by the ureta. Kidney function is the bodys main way to control long term blood pressure as well as your water regulations. The kidney looked exactly how I imagined it to 🙂
Overall, the short hour we had was amazing! I learnt so much and this really enhanced my learning by having a hands on approach and seeing parts as we talked about them and were quizzed on them! I think this should definitely be a regular thing for students all accross the world (if you are not sqeamish haha).
Thank you Birmingham City University team for putting on this event on for us! It really did enhance my learning and from what I have heard from other students from the first year to third year students, they have all felt the same way. Not one person has been disappointed yet and how could they be?! I personally learn better from these hands on things over listening to someone talking. I am a very visual learner so I am so greateful for these sessions. Huge thanks. Goodbye for now…
Physiology is the stepchild of medicine, this is why Cinderella often turns out a queen (Martin. H. Fischer available at: IZquotes 2017).