Pituitary and Adrenal Disorders

Course #30830 - $90 -


The pituitary and adrenal glands play a significant role in many functions in the body, and proper functioning is essential for the maintenance of health. Dysfunction in these glands can have detrimental effects and may lead to death if untreated. Although disorders of the pituitary or adrenal glands are not as easy to see or identify as many conditions, they are nonetheless relatively common among many patient populations. This course will provide a brief overview of the anatomy and physiology of the pituitary and adrenal glands, assessment, common disorders, and care of the patient with pituitary/adrenal dysfunction. Nurses have a responsibility and duty to identify the signs and symptoms of these disorders and to care for patients appropriately and fully.

Education Category: Medical / Surgical
Release Date: 08/01/2021
Expiration Date: 07/31/2024

Table of Contents


This course is designed for nurses in all practice settings.

Accreditations & Approvals

In support of improving patient care, NetCE is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team. NetCE is accredited by the International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). NetCE complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard, which is recognized internationally as a standard of excellence in instructional practices. As a result of this accreditation, NetCE is authorized to issue the IACET CEU.

Designations of Credit

NetCE designates this continuing education activity for 15 ANCC contact hour(s). NetCE designates this continuing education activity for 5 pharmacotherapeutic/pharmacology contact hour(s). NetCE designates this continuing education activity for 18 hours for Alabama nurses. NetCE is authorized by IACET to offer 1.5 CEU(s) for this program. AACN Synergy CERP Category A.

Individual State Nursing Approvals

In addition to states that accept ANCC, NetCE is approved as a provider of continuing education in nursing by: Alabama, Provider #ABNP0353, (valid through July 29,2025); Alabama, Provider #ABNP0353, (valid through July 29, 2025); Arkansas, Provider #50-2405; California, BRN Provider #CEP9784; California, LVN Provider #V10662; California, PT Provider #V10842; District of Columbia, Provider #50-2405; Florida, Provider #50-2405; Georgia, Provider #50-2405; Kentucky, Provider #7-0054 through 12/31/2025; South Carolina, Provider #50-2405; South Carolina, Provider #50-2405. West Virginia RN and APRN, Provider #50-2405.

Course Objective

As health care becomes more complex, it is essential that the theoretical concepts of the basis of illness (pathophysiology) be well understood. The purpose of this course is to reinforce the scientific rationales for the interventions nurses perform and the decisions nurses make as patients move through the ever-changing struggle with their pituitary or adrenal illness.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Describe the anatomy and physiology of the pituitary and adrenal glands.
  2. Outline the action of the hormones excreted by the pituitary and adrenal glands.
  3. Describe key aspects of the assessment of patients with pituitary or adrenal disorders, including appropriate diagnostic tools.
  4. Discuss the presentation and diagnosis of diabetes insipidus.
  5. Outline the options for the treatment of diabetes insipidus.
  6. Review the presentation and management of syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH).
  7. Evaluate the signs/symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of growth hormone deficiency.
  8. Identify acromegaly and gigantism and appropriate approaches to their treatment.
  9. Describe the clinical presentation and diagnosis of Addison disease.
  10. Evaluate approaches to the treatment of Addison disease, including identification and management of adrenal crises.
  11. Discuss the identification and diagnosis of Cushing syndrome.
  12. Evaluate various treatment options for Cushing syndrome, including surgical considerations.
  13. Review the signs/symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of primary aldosteronism.
  14. Analyze the clinical presentation, diagnosis, and treatment of pheochromocytoma.
  15. Identify psychosocial/lifestyle considerations for patients with pituitary or adrenal disorders.


Amanda Perkins, MSN, DNP, is a DNP-prepared registered nurse with a focus in healthcare leadership. Prior to obtaining her DNP, she obtained an MSN with a focus on nursing education. She currently works full-time as an Associate Professor of Nursing at Vermont Tech and per-diem at Gifford Medical Center on the medical-surgical unit and in the long-term care facility. Dr. Perkins also sits on the editorial board, writes, and peer-reviews for the journal Nursing Made Incredibly Easy! She has experience in a variety of settings, including long-term care, residential care, medical-surgical, women and children, intensive care, and inpatient psychiatric units.

Jane C. Norman, RN, MSN, CNE, PhD, received her undergraduate education at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville campus. There she completed a double major in Sociology and English. She completed an Associate of Science in Nursing at the University of Tennessee, Nashville campus and began her nursing career at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Jane received her Masters in Medical-Surgical Nursing from Vanderbilt University. In 1978, she took her first faculty position and served as program director for an associate degree program. In 1982, she received her PhD in Higher Education Administration from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. In 1988, Dr. Norman took a position at Tennessee State University. There she has achieved tenure and full professor status. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau National Nursing Honors Society. In 2005, she began her current position as Director of the Masters of Science in Nursing Program.

Faculty Disclosure

Contributing faculty, Amanda Perkins, MSN, DNP, has disclosed no relevant financial relationship with any product manufacturer or service provider mentioned.

Contributing faculty, Jane C. Norman, RN, MSN, CNE, PhD, has disclosed no relevant financial relationship with any product manufacturer or service provider mentioned.

Division Planner

Sharon Cannon, RN, EdD, ANEF

Division Planner Disclosure

The division planner has disclosed no relevant financial relationship with any product manufacturer or service provider mentioned.

Director of Development and Academic Affairs

Sarah Campbell

Director Disclosure Statement

The Director of Development and Academic Affairs has disclosed no relevant financial relationship with any product manufacturer or service provider mentioned.

About the Sponsor

The purpose of NetCE is to provide challenging curricula to assist healthcare professionals to raise their levels of expertise while fulfilling their continuing education requirements, thereby improving the quality of healthcare.

Our contributing faculty members have taken care to ensure that the information and recommendations are accurate and compatible with the standards generally accepted at the time of publication. The publisher disclaims any liability, loss or damage incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any of the contents. Participants are cautioned about the potential risk of using limited knowledge when integrating new techniques into practice.

Disclosure Statement

It is the policy of NetCE not to accept commercial support. Furthermore, commercial interests are prohibited from distributing or providing access to this activity to learners.

Technical Requirements

Supported browsers for Windows include Microsoft Internet Explorer 9.0 and up, Mozilla Firefox 3.0 and up, Opera 9.0 and up, and Google Chrome. Supported browsers for Macintosh include Safari, Mozilla Firefox 3.0 and up, Opera 9.0 and up, and Google Chrome. Other operating systems and browsers that include complete implementations of ECMAScript edition 3 and CSS 2.0 may work, but are not supported. Supported browsers must utilize the TLS encryption protocol v1.1 or v1.2 in order to connect to pages that require a secured HTTPS connection. TLS v1.0 is not supported.

Implicit Bias in Health Care

The role of implicit biases on healthcare outcomes has become a concern, as there is some evidence that implicit biases contribute to health disparities, professionals' attitudes toward and interactions with patients, quality of care, diagnoses, and treatment decisions. This may produce differences in help-seeking, diagnoses, and ultimately treatments and interventions. Implicit biases may also unwittingly produce professional behaviors, attitudes, and interactions that reduce patients' trust and comfort with their provider, leading to earlier termination of visits and/or reduced adherence and follow-up. Disadvantaged groups are marginalized in the healthcare system and vulnerable on multiple levels; health professionals' implicit biases can further exacerbate these existing disadvantages.

Interventions or strategies designed to reduce implicit bias may be categorized as change-based or control-based. Change-based interventions focus on reducing or changing cognitive associations underlying implicit biases. These interventions might include challenging stereotypes. Conversely, control-based interventions involve reducing the effects of the implicit bias on the individual's behaviors. These strategies include increasing awareness of biased thoughts and responses. The two types of interventions are not mutually exclusive and may be used synergistically.