Electroconvulsive Therapy in the Eyes of Undergraduate Nursing Students

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DOI: 10.4236/ojn.2014.412087    2,590 Downloads   3,435 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Despite the fact that electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is an established safe and effective procedure, its use has continued to attract controversy with considerable stigma associated with it. This often overshadows the established effectiveness. Poor knowledge, negative attitude and bias towards ECT by the nurses may translate to poor education and support to patients from whom they are expected to obtain informed consent before an ECT procedure. This study assessed the perception of undergraduate nursing students of a Nigerian university about ECT. A total of 81 students who had completed all relevant lectures and practical/clinical exposures in psychiatry as prescribed in their academic curricular participated in the study. All the consenting students were administered the socio-demographic questionnaire and modified questionnaire on attitude and knowledge of electroconvulsive therapy (QuAKE). Majority of the students responded appropriately to the principal uses of ECT. Few believed that ECT was an out-moded form of treatment, that the procedure was cruel and barbaric, that psychiatrists who still administered ECT were wicked and not responsible physicians, and that it caused permanent brain damage. The total mean score of the students was 7.53 ± 2.65. Fifty eight (71.6%) students observed an ECT procedure and followed up the patients during the posting. They scored 7.17 ± 2.55 while 23 (28.4%) students who had not observed the procedure scored 6.98 ± 1.92 on the QuAKE (t = -0.36, p = 0.72). Thirty one (38.3%) students who would accept the procedure if indicated scored 7.14 ± 2.21 while 50 (61.7%) of them who would not allow ECT carried out on them scored 6.88 ± 1.96 (t = 0.56, p = 0.58). The mean score of 29 (35.8%) students who might pursue psychiatry as a career was 8.10 ± 1.90 while 52 (64.2%) of them who would not specialise in psychiatry scored 6.05 ± 1.79 (t = 5.00, p < 0.001). The total mean score on the QuAKE was low among the student nurses. Therefore, there is a need to improve undergraduate nursing education on ECT.

Cite this paper

Igwe, M. , Ndukuba, A. , Attama, C. , Ogbonna, P. and Igwe, C. (2014) Electroconvulsive Therapy in the Eyes of Undergraduate Nursing Students. Open Journal of Nursing, 4, 818-823. doi: 10.4236/ojn.2014.412087.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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