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APNA Position Paper Update: Dispelling Misconceptions About Electroconvulsive Therapy

APNA Position Paper Update: Dispelling Misconceptions About Electroconvulsive Therapy
APNA Neuromodulation Task Force Chairs Paula Bolton & Donna Ecklesdafer

November 2021 APNA News: Members’ Corner

For more than eight decades, psychiatric-mental health nurses have provided individualized care for individuals receiving electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). From the advancement of evidence-based treatment modifications to serving as vital patient advocates, psychiatric-mental health nurses have played an important role in this treatment.

At the request of the APNA Board of Directors, the APNA Neuromodulation Task Force recently reviewed and updated the APNA Position Paper on ECT. Under the leadership of Chairs Paula Bolton, MS, CNP, ANP-BC and Donna Ecklesdafer, RN, MSN, task force members made significant updates to the paper, which was then approved by the Board earlier this year. Below, Paula & Donna provide answers to a few questions about the updated position:

What important points about ECT are incorporated into the position paper?

ECT continues to be one of the most effective treatments for a variety of serious mental illnesses that are resistant to other treatment modalities. PMH nurses and advanced practice nurses are involved in all aspects of treatment and care for patients receiving ECT.

How is this position paper relevant to psychiatric-mental health nurses?

There is still a perceived stigma by patients who might be considering ECT and a lot of misinformation and misperceptions which nurses can help dispel.

How might a member use this resource?

PMH nurses can refer to it when talking with patients about ECT as potential treatment option and making referrals to ECT treatment facilities. Also, APNA members may consider getting involved in direct care activities in ECT centers, including being credentialed as ECT providers.

What’s next for the APNA Neuromodulation Task Force?

We’re currently working on a position paper for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and its uses in nursing care. Following that position paper, we hope to turn our focus on developing checklists to be used by nurses working in ECT and TMS. This will help inform nurses who work in these areas in geographically diverse parts of the country and promote best practices.

Read the APNA Position Paper

A special thank you to these task force members who continue to share their expertise in this area!