Understanding the body’s homeostasis through interactions among the eleven organ systems is an essential foundation for pre-professional undergraduate students studying human anatomy and physiology. This knowledge enables students to understand the pathophysiology of various disease states that result from non homeostatic conditions. We created an organ systems-based applied learning module containing the signs and symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which can assist in increasing student engagement while making connections between normal conditions and disease states. The purpose of this module was to encourage students to use critical thinking skills and apply what they have learned in the classroom to real-world situations.

Anatomy and Physiology II students at Gordon State College first learned about four major organ systems: endocrine, cardiovascular, respiratory, and urinary. Students completed each lesson and the corresponding assignment containing the basic functions of each organ system. Students then identified the organ systems’ physiological contributions to the signs and symptoms of DKA, such as hyperglycemia, ketoacidosis, ketonuria, hypokalemia, and osmotic diuresis. At the end of the semester, the students presented posters summarizing their overall understanding of the eleven organ systems’ involvement with the signs and symptoms of DKA. This learning module with the DKA poster project offered an innovative way for students to apply their classroom learning to real-world situations relevant to their potential future careers.

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