The endocrine system
The endocrine system
This chapter aims to explore the nursing skills required to care for the child and family with an underlying endocrine disorder both in a healthcare setting and in the community. This chapter will include an overview of the anatomy and physiology of the endocrine system, related pharmacology and microbiology, and a detailed description of the main skills involved in caring for children with an endocrine disorder and their families. Endocrine disorders in childhood are generally of a chronic nature, therefore prompt, accurate treatment and management are essential to ensure normal development into fully functioning adulthood. Disorders of the endocrine system can manifest their effects immediately or in a more gradual manner over days to months. Endocrine disorders most commonly occur due to three main reasons: a disordered endocrine system, often as a result of a genetic abnormality; overproduction of a particular hormone; or underproduction of a particular hormone (Evans & Tippins, 2008). Type 1 diabetes mellitus accounts for approximately 50% of endocrine disorders in childhood with an incidence in children (0–14 years) of 13.5 per 100,000 in the UK (Raine et al., 2006). Although some general principles apply to the nursing care of children with an endocrine disorder, you will need to refer to local policy and be familiar with local protocols regarding the nursing management of these children and their families in the hospital and the community. It is anticipated that you will be able to do the following once you have read and studied this chapter: ● Understand the anatomy and physiology of the endocrine system and how it affects many of our bodily functions. ● Understand the predominant pathological conditions related to the endocrine system. ● Understand the key nursing skills required to care for a child with an endocrine disorder and their family. The endocrine system is a chemical communi cation system that consists of hormone producing cells, hormones, and receptors (Glasper & Richardson, 2006). This system regulates and controls the body’s metabolic processes including energy production, growth, fluid and electrolyte balance, responses to stress, and sexual reproduction (Baxter et al., 2004).
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