Collaboration between the education and service providers assists with the development of enhanced clinical and educational experiences for students. This paper describes an innovative collaborative program developed by the School of Nursing, University of Ballarat and Grampians Psychiatric Services, Ballarat Health Services. Mental health clinical nursing staff are the student off-campus clinical supervisors and on-campus lecturers, supported by two jointly appointed co-ordinators. Program evaluation reveals that this collaborative approach assists in the provision of a supportive learning environment, increases enthusiasm about psychiatric nursing and draws on relevant mental health nursing skills in the university and service sectors.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a highly technical procedure requiring a team that consists of an anesthetist, a psychiatrist, a clinical nurse specialist, and recovery nurses. Traditionally, nursing education and training in the context of providing a safe and high standard of care has not been addressed. Ninety-two nurses from 42 different health agencies participated in a training program focusing on defibrillation, electrocardiogram (ECG) and electroencephalogram (EEG) monitoring, intubation, stimulus dosing, setting up the ECT equipment, and caring for the patient. A non-experimental, one-group, pretest-posttest research design was used in this study to evaluate the effectiveness of the training program for nurses working with ECT. Effective training for nurses was hypothesized to make a difference in the standards of practice and clinical effectiveness for patients undergoing ECT. Findings from this study indicated a major knowledge deficit in key components of ECT among nurses who have responsibilities in this area of nursing care. With effective training, nurses’ confidence levels increased related to setting up the equipment, administering a double dose, helping with intubation, and using a defibrillator. If nurses are to effectively function as team members in the ECT procedure, they must receive the training necessary to prepare them for this important role. The results of this study support the recommendation of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists that ECT nurses should be appropriately trained in anaesthetic and resuscitation techniques and modern ECT practice.