Human anatomy and physiology is a broad subject with over five thousand terms to describe the microscopic and macroscopic functions of the human body, and if you are a nursing student, memorizing these terms is not an easy task to do.
For the layperson, being able to point or describe where the ten main organs are located in the human body may feel like a great achievement. However, for a student of anatomy being able to recite each organ, vessel, muscle, and the 206 bones in the human body as easily as reciting the alphabet or counting to one hundred is the true achievement worth attaining and celebrating.
If you are reading this blog, then you are probably a student in the healthcare field, in search for tips in how to memorize the myriad of anatomy terms in your textbooks. Learning anatomy is similar to learning a new language, and it requires dedication. Follow our tips and techniques to make memorizing those anatomical terms less challenging.
Tips to Memorize Difficult Anatomy Terms
Outline A Study Plan
First, follow your course syllabus to help you outline your study plan. Each week update your study plan according to what your instructor has covered in class that week. Write down each term that you are not familiar with, especially when covering the sections relating to the bones, joints, skeletal muscles, blood vessels and nerves, which can be quite extensive and daunting. Do not move on to a new topic until you fully grasped each term and only then move to the next topic. Getting an early start in memorizing all those tough anatomy and physiology terms will make the process of studying for NCLEX exam that much easier for you.
It is ideal that you review the chapter your instructor is going to cover in class the night before. By doing this, you will not be bored in class, and you will be able to understand your instructor’s lecture. How many times have you skipped reading the chapter only to be lost and confused in class? It is safe to say that we all have committed this oversight at one point in our college career. However, it is not a good habit if your end goal is to get an excellent education.
Select the organ system you want to learn and picture the location of that organ system in your mind. You need to be able to visualize that part of the human anatomy in your mind so that you can describe what that particular organ system entails.
For example, the integumentary system consists of the skin, hair, nails and sweat glands, and its main function is to protect the human body from pollutants from the outside world. Next, try to visualize the names of the three layers of the skin and the functions of each in relations to protecting the skin from infections and pollutants. Do the same visualization to describe the functions of the hair and nails.
Next, try to recall the different components of each sweat gland and their function in regulating body temperature.
Start the memorization process by printing out copies of pictures or charts of the main components of the integumentary system, one with labels and one without the labels. This will ensure that when you think of the term, the picture follows in your mind.
Use Helpful Mnemonics
Studying and memorizing difficult terms is different for everyone. Some students find it easier to remember tough terms by creating acronyms, songs or funny sentences to help them remember the different organ systems and components in the human body.
For example remembering, Heart valves: order in circuit “First learn a Tricycle,
then learn a Bicycle”: Blood flows through the Tricuspid first, then the Bicuspid.
For remembering the rotational movements Supination vs. Pronation ” SOUPination”: Supination is to turn your arm palm up, as if you are holding a bowl of soup. “POUR-nation”: Pronation is to turn your arm with the palm down, as if you are pouring out whatever is your bowl.
You can find more anatomy mnemonics by visiting this site.
In a week or two, you can become an expert in human anatomy if you follow these tips. However, you must keep practicing these tips every day in order to become an expert.