Electro-Convulsive Therapy

1h 15m of CPD
Karen-Ann Clarke
10 Oct 2017

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.


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


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 experiences of mental illness. Using a feminist narrative methodology, her PhD research explored the way in which women diagnosed with depression made decisions and meanings about receiving electroconvulsive therapy. As a lecturer in nursing at USC, Dr Clarke is responsible for the coordination of mental health curricula across multiple undergraduate and post-graduate 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 health care. Dr Clarke 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.


Alisdair Mackenzie06 Jul 2018

Kerrie Myhill31 May 2018
Good information for anyone caring for ECT patients

Sarah J Finlayson30 May 2018
Well presented and informative as usual, thank you!

John Cazaly23 May 2018
Very Good and well presented

Lauren Bradshaw22 May 2018
very good

It's a great VLA. Thank you.

Lisa-Jane Robertson08 May 2018
Excellent presenter and excellent content

Louise Morosi26 Apr 2018
A fantastic resource for somebody with no experience in this field like myself!!

Peter Michael Osbucan Olat19 Apr 2018
very informative

Jennifer Unicomb17 Apr 2018
The Presentation was clear and informative. I would thoroughly recommend this unit to my work colleagues.

Fionn Griegg14 Mar 2018
Thank you for the knowledge in this VLA. It was extremely helpful and I will be back for more VLA's

Norest Mashonganyika23 Dec 2017
well presented,and articulated

Course Overview

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.

Health professionals in Australia that are registered with AHPRA are required to obtain continuing professional development (CPD) hours/points each year that relates to their context of practice, in order to comply with mandatory regulatory requirements.

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