NURSING ROUNDS: Beyond the Cuckoo’s Nest: Nurses and ECT in Dutch Psychiatry, 1940 – 2010

Date: 23 Feb 2016

Presented by: Dr. Geertje Boschma, Professor, UBC School of Nursing

Room: T206, UBC School of Nursing (3rd floor of UBC Hospital)

Abstract: This presentation examines the history of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) from the viewpoint of nurses in the particular context of Dutch psychiatry. After a period of dwindling use and much controversy over ECT in the 1970s and 1980s, its application increased again during the 1990s. Competent nursing was a key component in ECT treatment from the outset. While nursing’s close ties to medical knowledge and therapies have been a source of ambivalence and professional tension, the connection also gave nurses new opportunities to renegotiate their expertise in the domain of biological psychiatry. As ECT became more accepted during the 1990s nursing’s grounding in the medical domain opened new professional avenues in ECT-nursing expertise and advanced practice.

Bio: Dr. Boschma is a professor in the School of Nursing at the University of British Columbia. She leads a research program on the history of nursing and health care, with special emphasis on mental health and mental health nursing. Dr. Boschma’s research aims to add to the understanding of change in health care and nursing’s professional identity.

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