Introduction to Common Electrolyte Abnormalities

1h 30m
Cover image for: Introduction to Common Electrolyte Abnormalities
CPD1h 30m of CPD
First Published
Updated12 November 2017
Expires 15 August 2019
Recorded InMelbourne, Australia

Course Overview

This Course provides an easy-to-understand introduction to the science of the two most common electrolytes, sodium and potassium, and their main functions in the body. Common problems associated with electrolyte abnormalities are examined and treatment options are discussed.

Topics include:

  • The science and pathophysiology behind the most common of the electrolytes: sodium and potassium
  • Disease mechanisms that lead to abnormal levels
  • How to identify the signs and symptoms associated with electrolyte disturbances
  • Nursing assessment and interventions, including the identification of risk factors
  • Common medical interventions

Target audience

All health professionals, but those practising in emergency or critical care may find it of particular relevance.


The purpose of this Course is to review and introduce the theoretical and practical basis of sodium and potassium disturbances, and explain their causes, assessment and treatment.


Electrolyte disturbances are a surprisingly common occurrence in the healthcare system, in particular, sodium and potassium. Both these electrolyte disturbances pose severe health risks to patients. Health professionals need to be able to identify and understand the mechanisms that mediate these disturbances, how they manifest, and the means by which they can be treated.

Therefore, all health professionals need to have a working knowledge of the most common electrolyte disturbances they may encounter.

Learning Outcomes
  • Discuss sodium and potassium electrolyte abnormalities
  • Identify common complaints or symptoms which might indicate these electrolyte abnormalities
  • Explain the nursing assessment and care of these common electrolyte abnormalities
  • Describe potential treatments of sodium and potassium abnormalities

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 Darren Wake
Darren Wake

Peripatetic and always intellectually restless, Darren Wake has pursued varied careers in journalism, media production, academic philosophy and nursing. As a nurse, he worked in the speciality areas of critical care, community care, remote area healthcare and education. As a formally qualified academic philosopher Darren taught undergraduate units in law and ethics in healthcare, although his principle research focus revolved around logic and the philosophy of language. Darren’s media production output can be found scattered about the Ausmed website and in his long forgotten days as a word monkey, he wrote for European publications such as The Scotsman, The Great Outdoors, Country Walking and The Times. In 2014 Darren consulted to the Department of Health for the development of Consumer Directed Care policy and guidelines for remote area communities in the Northern Territory. These days he is the managing editor of a small independent publishing company based in the United Kingdom, and lives in Tasmania. In his spare time, Darren is currently studying a formal course in celestial navigation, just in case the inevitable zombie apocalypse messes with the world’s GPS satellite system. See Educator Profile

CPD1h 30m of CPD
First Published
Updated12 November 2017
15 August 2019
Recorded InMelbourne, Australia
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