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
, 818-823. doi: 10.4236/ojn.2014.412087
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