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Cover image for: Electro-convulsive Therapy (ECT)
CPD1h 15m of CPD
Total Rating(s)19
First Published
Updated18 January 2019
Expires 10 October 2019
Recorded InMelbourne, Australia

Course Overview

Electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) is a medical procedure that is used to treat severe mental health disorders such as clinical depression, mania and psychosis. This Course explores the history and theories underpinning the use of ECT, who may benefit from this form of treatment and how any adverse effects may be prevented.

Topics include:

  • The origin of electro-convulsive therapy (ECT)
  • Electrode placement
  • Indications and contraindications
  • Minimising adverse effects

Target audience

Nurses and other health professionals caring for people who are undergoing electro-convulsive therapy (ECT).


Enhance knowledge of electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) as a treatment for some types of mental health conditions.


Electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) is a medical procedure that is commonly used for the treatment of psychiatric disorders, namely, clinical depression, mania and psychosis. Nurses have cared for people undergoing ECT since its inception, and an important part of their care is the provision of information and psychological support. People receiving ECT and their carers may seek explanation and reassurance from nurses regarding their treatment.

In order to provide sufficient information and support, healthcare professionals must understand what ECT is and why it is used – there is a need to be able to answer the questions of people undergoing ECT and their carers over the course of their treatment.

Learning Outcomes
  • Describe ECT and how the treatment works
  • Identify the mental health disorders for which ECT is indicated
  • Identify the mental and physical conditions for which it is contraindicated
  • Describe adverse effects associated with ECT and how they can be minimised

No conflict of interest exists for anyone in the position to control content for this activity. Wherever possible, generic or non-proprietary names of medications or products have been used.


Portrait of Karen-Ann Clarke
Karen-Ann Clarke

Dr Karen-Ann Clarke is a registered nurse and a specialised mental health nurse with 30 years’ experience of working with individuals and families impacted by the experience of mental illness. Using a feminist narrative methodology, her PhD research explored the way that women diagnosed with depression made decisions and meanings about receiving electroconvulsive therapy. As a lecturer in nursing at USC, Karen-Ann is responsible for the coordination of mental health curricula across multiple undergraduate and postgraduate programs. Teaching in excess of 900 undergraduate students each year, she is passionate about the value that immersive mental health simulation can bring to student’s learning and clinical skills and the way that it can safely bring to life theoretical concepts related to mental healthcare. Karen-Ann currently supervises a number of honours, masters and PhD students and is part of numerous research projects, involving visualisation and simulation, mental illness, suicide prevention and the inclusion of people with lived experience of mental illness into the teaching and learning space. See Educator Profile

CPD1h 15m of CPD
Total Rating(s)19
First Published
Updated18 January 2019
Expires 10 October 2019
Recorded InMelbourne, Australia
Mental Health
Psychiatric Nursing
Patient Safety
Clinical Assessment
Learning Tools
Related Learning Hubs
Content Integrity

Learner Reviews

19 Total Rating(s)
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Timothy Riegerix
19 Feb 2019

Very interesting.

Portrait of Kathleen Pritchard
Kathleen Pritchard
03 Feb 2019

As I regularly work in the procedure room where ECT is performed, I found it extremely beneficial to learn more about the indications for ECT, contraindications, the positioning of electrodes and preferred seizure timing, levels of memory loss experienced by patients and their personal concerns. Unfortunately, the patients are often rushed through the process with little time to converse or settle anxieties. I now feel much better informed of the process.

Portrait of Billy Allen
Billy Allen
21 Jan 2019

Thank you

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Marta Salek
07 Jan 2019

The presenter was respectful, knowledgeable, and presented her material clearly and competently. Her desire to ensure all care was patient centred was clear and the she presented the technical details of ECT in an easy-to-understand way.

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Georgia Jones
04 Jan 2019

The presenter had a great amount of knowledge on this subject and spoke clearly and was very easy to understand.

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Craig Peters
26 Dec 2018

Very informative and easy to understand

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Erin Byrnes
13 Nov 2018

Very educational video. Helped me fill many gaps in my knowledge.

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Jacqueline Beer
28 Oct 2018

Enjoyed it very much, great level of information at a good pace.

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Amanda LeVick
21 Oct 2018

Extremely helpful to understand the history, current practice and possible adverse effects for patients.

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Alisdair Mackenzie
06 Jul 2018