Original ArticlesKnowledge and Attitudes Toward Electroconvulsive Therapy Among Health Care Professionals and StudentsByrne, Peter MB, MA, MRCPsych*; Cassidy, Brendan MB, MBA, MRCPsych†; Higgins, Patrick MB, FFA RCSI‡Author Information From the *Department of Mental Health Sciences, University College London, London, UK, †St John of God Hospital, Stillorgan, County Dublin, Ireland; and ‡Department of Anaesthetics, Connolly Hospital, Dublin 15, Ireland. Received for publication January 19, 2006; accepted March 7, 2006. Reprints: Peter Byrne, MA, MB, MRCPsych, Department of Mental Health Sciences, University College London, London N19 5NF, UK (e-mail: [email protected]). The Journal of ECT: June 2006 - Volume 22 - Issue 2 - p 133-138 Buy Abstract Widespread variations in electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) prescription between and within countries have led many researchers to study professionals' attitudes to the procedure. A questionnaire looking at knowledge and attitudes was administered to 593 medical and nursing students, psychiatrists and anesthetists, and theater and psychiatric nurses. Respondents were based in 2 Irish cities, Dublin and Cork. Poorer knowledge of ECT was found in the nursing group, and this included psychiatric nurses: a third overestimate ECT mortality, most did not know if it caused permanent brain damage, and only 1 psychiatric nurse (2.9%) expressed positive attitudes to its use. Nursing students had significantly lower knowledge and more negative attitudes than medical students, and exposure to the procedure of ECT failed to improve their attitudes. The strongest predictor of better knowledge and more positive ECT attitudes was membership of the medical group. There were direct associations between better knowledge and more positive attitudes in the medical group but not among the nursing group. Low ECT knowledge among psychiatric nurses has implications in obtaining patients' valid consent. Our failure to link exposure to ECT to better nursing attitudes is discussed along with other educational lessons. © 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.