Special Course: Human Anatomy of a Nurse

At first glance, a nurse's anatomy might appear similar to other human anatomy. Upon closer inspection, however, several differences between the nurse and the normal human are observable. While some of this is in jest, each of these shows just how strong and wonderful our nurses are.

Visible Differences

  • Red, tired eyes: The nurse's eyes will betray her as someone who spends many hours struggling to read physicians' handwriting and complicated medical orders. Even a nurse who has perfect vision will eventually succumb to this condition.
  • Messy hair: Today's average nurse barely has time to stop for lunch, much less primp in the restroom. With a full schedule, her appearance becomes less important to her, and she will attempt to cope with ponytail holders, scrunchies and bobby pins.
  • Soiled scrubs: If you were wondering whether your nurse arrived at work today with clean scrubs, the answer is "yes." Of course, as soon as she arrived, someone vomited on her, splashed her with a bedpan, and coffee was spilled down the front of her shirt while she was gulping it down on her way to see another one of her patients.
  • Red, chapped, irritated hands: Because she is constantly washing her hands or applying sanitizer to avoid spreading germs and infections, the nurse's hands are visibly red and irritated. At night, she slathers on lotions, oils and salves, but they are never able to fully recover.

Internal Differences

  • Enlarged prefrontal cortex: A brain scan will reveal that the average nurse has an unusually large prefrontal cortex as part of her human anatomy. You see, this is from where the virtue of patience emanates; due to its strenuous exercise, this area of the brain becomes larger with time.
  • Big heart: A new study has revealed that nursing students tend to have larger hearts than other people; this is what draws them to the field of nursing. National organizations are even considering making an EKG part of the nursing school entrance exam.
  • Nerves of steel: While most people's nerves are made of normal human tissue, it has been found that nurses actually have nerves that are lined with steel. This is a side effect of dealing with unruly patients and demanding physicians and normally develops within one to two years.
  • Iron stomach: Any nurse will probably be able to tell you endless stories of the sights and smells of health care. Who else but a nurse could eat a tuna salad sandwich and then take care of a patient infected with e. coli?

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

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Tags: nursing, Registered Nursing

Karen N. Brown, MSHA

About Karen N. Brown, MSHA

Karen Brown is a freelance writer specializing in content for the health professions, but her writing projects have been quite varied in subject. She graduated from The University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Philosophy, and a Master of Science in Health Administration. For nearly 20 years, she worked at UAB, an academic medical center, most notably as a division administrator for a large, international HIV/AIDS program. She also has considerable knowledge in federal research regulation. Karen lives in Alabama's Birmingham metropolitan area. View all posts by Karen N. Brown, MSHA →