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.

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

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.