Course Overview


This Course provides an easy-to-understand introduction to the science of the two most common electrolytes, sodium and potassium, and their main functions in the body. Common problems associated with electrolyte abnormalities are examined and treatment options are discussed.

Learning Outcomes

  • Discuss sodium and potassium electrolyte abnormalities
  • Identify common complaints or symptoms which might indicate these electrolyte abnormalities
  • Explain the nursing assessment and care of these common electrolyte abnormalities
  • Describe potential treatments of sodium and potassium abnormalities

Topics include:

  • The science and pathophysiology behind the most common of the electrolytes: sodium and potassium
  • Disease mechanisms that lead to abnormal levels
  • How to identify the signs and symptoms associated with electrolyte disturbances
  • Nursing assessment and interventions, including the identification of risk factors
  • Common medical interventions

Target audience

All health professionals, but those practising in the following fields may find it of particular relevance:

  • Acute care
  • Aged care
  • Community care
  • Critical care
  • Emergency care


Review and introduce the theoretical and practical basis of sodium and potassium disturbances, and explain their causes, assessment and treatment.


Electrolyte disturbances are a surprisingly common occurrence in the healthcare system, in particular, sodium and potassium. Both these electrolyte disturbances pose severe health risks to patients. Treatment protocols are well established, but for them to be effective it is essential that health professionals are able to identify and understand the mechanisms that mediate these disturbances, how they manifest, and the means by which they can be treated. Therefore, all health professionals need to have a working knowledge of the most common electrolyte disturbances they may encounter.

Health professionals in Australia that are registered with AHPRA are required to obtain continuing professional development (CPD) hours/points each year that relates to their context of practice, in order to comply with mandatory regulatory requirements.