NURS_6630_Week1_Assignment Anatomy of the Neuron

Sample Answer for NURS_6630_Week1_Assignment Anatomy of the Neuron Included After Question

NURS_6630_Week1_Assignment Anatomy of the Neuron

 Anatomy of the Neuron

Week 1: Introduction to Neuroanatomy

The human brain is organized into the cerebral cortex, brainstem, subcortical structures, and the cerebellum. These anatomical structures are made of inter-connected elements that create distributed and highly inter-connected circuits. It is in these circuits where cognition, behavior, and affect are processed.

—Camprodon, J. A., & Roffman, J. L. (2016, p. 6)

By using a combination of psychotherapy and medication therapy, psychiatric nurse practitioners (PNP) are positioned to provide a very unique type of care to patients with psychiatric disorders. To be successful in this role, you must have a strong theoretical foundation in pathophysiology, psychopharmacology, and neuroscience. This foundation will help you assess, diagnose, and treat patients as you relate presenting symptoms to theoretical neuronal functioning.

This week, as you begin to study psychopharmacology, you will explore the basic functional unit of the nervous system, the neuron. You will review the structure of the neuron and you will examine the anatomy of the central nervous system and consider the functionality of the different structure and outward (phenotypic) expression of their activities. You will analyze these concepts as you complete your short answer assessment for this week.

NURS_6630_Week1_Assignment Anatomy of the Neuron
NURS_6630_Week1_Assignment Anatomy of the Neuron

Camprodon, J. A., & Roffman, J. L. (2016). Psychiatric neuroscience: Incorporating pathophysiology into clinical case formulation. In T. A. Stern, M. Favo, T. E. Wilens, & J. F. Rosenbaum. (Eds.), Massachusetts General Hospital psychopharmacology and neurotherapeutics (pp. 1–19). Elsevier.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Describe the functions and structures of the central nervous system
  • Describe the different structures that make up the neuron
  • Explain the function of neurons in intracellular communication

Learning Resources

Required Readings (click to expand/reduce)
Required Media (click to expand/reduce)
Optional Resources (click to expand/reduce)


Practicum Manual Acknowledgment

The Practicum Manual describes the structure and timing of the classroom-based and practicum experiences and the policies students must follow to be successful in the nurse practitioner (NP) specialties.

Click here and follow the instructions to confirm you have downloaded and read the entire MSN Nurse Practitioner Practicum Manual and will abide by the requirements described in order to successfully complete this program.

Optional Discussion Forum: PMHNP Study Support Lounge

The PMHNP Study Support Lounge is offered throughout the course as a place of academic refuge, where you can ask questions, offer insights, and interact with your peers. Your Instructor may also weigh in to provide global feedback to the group based on trends, common problems, and common strengths in student posts.

As a peer, you are encouraged to provide constructive, helpful feedback to your peers. Advanced practice nurses always benefit from the feedback of others. Your Study Support Lounge posts may be procedural (“How do I attach a Kaltura video to a Discussion post?”), conceptual (“How does this relate to the other therapy approaches we have studied?”), or analytical (“What do these diagnostic results actually mean in the context of this specific patient case?”). Although not mandatory, this is an opportunity to interact and study together as you navigate the assignments, so you are highly encouraged to take part in this activity. Full participation in activities like these is a statistically significant predictor of success.

To Participate in this Optional Discussion:

PMHNP Study Support Lounge

Assignment: Short Answer Assessment

As a psychiatric nurse practitioner, before you can recommend potential pharmacotherapeutics to address a patient’s condition or disorder, you must understand the basic function and structure of the neuron and central nervous system. For this Assignment, you will review and apply your understanding of neuroanatomy by addressing a set of short answer prompts.

To Prepare:

  • Review the Learning Resources for this week in preparation to complete this Assignment.
  • Reflect on the basic function and structure of the neuron in relation to the central nervous system.
  • Reflect on the inter-connectedness between neurons and the central nervous system, including the pathway and distribution of electrical impulses.
  • Reflect on how neurons communicate with each other and review the concept of neuroplasticity.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Science Photo Libra

To complete:

Address the following Short Answer prompts for your Assignment. Be sure to include references to the Learning Resources for this week.

  1. In 4 or 5 sentences, describe the anatomy of the basic unit of the nervous system, the neuron. Include each part of the neuron and a general overview of electrical impulse conduction, the pathway it travels, and the net result at the termination of the impulse. Be specific and provide examples.
  2. Answer the following (listing is acceptable for these questions):
    • What are the major components that make up the subcortical structures?
    • Which component plays a role in learning, memory, and addiction?
    • What are the two key neurotransmitters located in the nigra striatal region of the brain that play a major role in motor control?
  3. In 3 or 4 sentences, explain how glia cells function in the central nervous system. Be specific and provide examples.
  4. The synapse is an area between two neurons that allows for chemical communication. In 3 or 4 sentences, explain what part of the neurons are communicating with each other and in which direction does this communication occur? Be specific.
  5. In 3–5 sentences, explain the concept of “neuroplasticity.” Be specific and provide examples.
By Day 7

Submit your Assignment.

Submission and Grading Information

To submit your completed Assignment for review and grading, do the following:

  • Please save your Assignment using the naming convention “WK1Assgn+last name+first initial.(extension)” as the name.
  • Click the Week 1 Assignment Rubric to review the Grading Criteria for the Assignment.
  • Click the Week 1 Assignment link. You will also be able to “View Rubric” for grading criteria from this area.
  • Next, from the Attach File area, click on the Browse My Computer button. Find the document you saved as “WK1Assgn+last name+first initial.(extension)” and click Open.
  • If applicable: From the Plagiarism Tools area, click the checkbox for I agree to submit my paper(s) to the Global Reference Database.
  • Click on the Submit button to complete your submission.


A Sample Answer For the Assignment: NURS_6630_Week1_Assignment Anatomy of the Neuron

Title: NURS_6630_Week1_Assignment Anatomy of the Neuron

Anatomy of the Neuron 

The neuron has the following parts; the cell body, axon, dendrites, myelin sheath, Schwann cells and the axon terminals. The cell body contains the nucleus while the protrusions called dendrons extend from the cell body. On the dendrons arises finer branching extensions referred to as dendrites whereas the axon arises from the cell body at the axon hillock. The axon is covered by insulating substance called myelin sheath, which contains the Schwann cells. The neuron receives the signals at the dendrite trees, at which point it then fires the impulse by action potential through the axon to the terminal dendrites that make connections with target cells such as the muscle cells. 

Subcortical Structure 

The subcortical structures are; diencephalon, pituitary gland, limbic structures and the basal ganglia. The limbic structure controls learning, memory and addiction. The key neurotransmitters located in the nigra striatal region of the brain that play a major role in motor control are dopamine and gamma –aminobutyric acid (GABA) (Sonne & Beato, 2018). There are four main types of glial cells in the adult nervous systems, that is, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, microglia and Schwann cells. Astrocytes help regulate flow of blood in the brain, maintain the composition of fluids around the neurons and regulate communication between neurons at the synapse. Microglia remove the dead cells and unwanted materials around the neurons. The Schwann and oligodendrocytes have a protective role since they produce myelin sheath that insulates the axon and increases speed of transmission of nerve impulses along the axon (Sonne & Beato, 2018). At the synapse, the parts associated with the communication process of the neurons include the dendrites and the cell bodies of the other neurons. The direction of flow of the electrical impulses is from the presynaptic cell membrane of dendrites to the post synaptic cell membrane of the cell body of another neuron through acetylcholine. 

Neuroplasticity refers to the unique ability of the brain to adapt to change both in terms of structure or function and this occurs as lifetime process in response to experiences (Voss et al., 2017). The research findings reveal that neuroplasticity varies among individuals. Three of the main factors that affect variability of neuroplasticity are age, sex and sensory experiences (Voss et al., 2017).  




Sonne, J., & Beato, M. R. (2018, December 28). Neuroanatomy, Substantia Nigra. Retrieved from website: 

Voss, P., Thomas, M. E., Cisneros-Franco, J. M., & de Villers-Sidani, É. (2017). Dynamic Brains and the Changing Rules of Neuroplasticity: Implications for Learning and Recovery. Frontiers in Psychology, 8. 









Short Answer Prompts 



Student’s Name 

Institutional Affiliation 

Course Name 

Lecturer’s Name 












Short Answer Prompts 

Question One 

Nerve cell or the neuron is the basic unit of the nervous system. The nerve cell has a cell body which consist of axons (extension-like features), cell nucleus and dendrites, wherein dendrites and axons enable neurons to communicate or transmit information from one point to the other, even across long distance (Costa et al., 2016). When a neuron transmits a message, there is always the generation of electrical impulses down the length of the axon; towards the end of the axon, the electrical signals are turned into chemical signal. The axon then produces the chemical signal containing chemical messengers known as neurotransmitters into the synapse, which is the empty space between the tip of the dendrite and the end of the axon. At the end of the dendrite, the chemical signal is turned back into the electrical signals.     

Question Two 

  • What are the major components that make up the subcortical structures? 
  • Diencephalon 
  • Thalamus 
  • Epithalamus 
  • Subthalamus 
  • Hypothalamus 
  • Which component plays a role in learning, memory, and addiction? 
  • Diencephalon 
  • Thalamus 


  • What are the two key neurotransmitters located in the nigra striatal region of the brain that play a major role in motor control? 
  • The Substantia Nigra 
  • The Tuberomammillary Nucleus 

Question Three 

Glia cells function by surrounding neurons and holding them in place and aids in the supply of oxygen and nutrients into the neurons. They also form a layer through expansion and contraction to insulate one neuron from the other. Finally, glia cells form synaptic connections which are used to enhance neurotransmission, as well as other psychological processes such as breathing. Glia cells can continuously respond to the manipulate neurotransmission in many different ways.   

Question Four 

Dendrites are a part of the neuron that allows the neurons to communicate with each other. Dendrites often receive synaptic input from axons whose sum total determine whether the neuron can fire an action. The action potential as well as the subsequent transmitter release often enable neurons to communicate with other neurons to enhance the transmission of impulses. The process of communication usually starts from the axons and proceeds in the direction of the dendrites.  

Question Five 

Neuroplasticity is the capability of the neural network within the brain to change through reorganization and growth. The above changes usually range from the individual neurons creating new connections, to the systematic adjustments such as cortical remapping (Tingley & Buzsáki, 2020). One of the main examples of neuroplasticity is the network and circuit changes that often result from learning new environmental influences, abilities and practices. Also, the concept of neuroplasticity can be observed in circuit and network changes that lead to psychological stress.   
















Costa, M., Manton, J. D., Ostrovsky, A. D., Prohaska, S., & Jefferis, G. S. (2016). NBLAST: rapid, sensitive comparison of neuronal structure and construction of neuron family databases. Neuron, 91(2), 293-311. Retrieved from: 

Tingley, D., & Buzsáki, G. (2020). Routing of hippocampal ripples to subcortical structures via the lateral septum. Neuron, 105(1), 138-149. Retrieved from: