Alarm Fatigue: A Technology Hazard
This research project sought to investigate the impact of alarm fatigue on nurses in an inpatient adult acute care setting at an academic and magnet medical center in the Northeast. The project methodology included a 12-question survey containing 9- likert and 3 open ended questions, designed by the student researcher. The survey was administered to 48 registered nurses on two telemetry-monitoring units. The survey explored whether nurses are aware of alarm fatigue, and also how their daily workflow was impacted by alarm fatigue. Surveys were anonymous and confidential. Descriptive statistics were performed on the study variables, and responses from three open-ended questions analyzed. The questions did not lend themselves to determining themes. Several respondents did request further telemetry monitoring system review and education. The survey results established that nurses from both units were experiencing alarm fatigue as well as workflow disruption as a result of frequent nuisance alarms. Implications for nursing practice are complex and of great importance given the patient safety implication. Nurses must spearhead initiatives to tackle and mitigate alarm fatigue. Participation at a system level is necessary to review current practice standards and policies in order to drive changes necessary to improve the patient care environment. End users of monitoring systems are in a unique position to work with vendors in order to create monitoring devices with sophisticated capabilities for monitoring which decrease nuisance alarms.