Assignment: Electronic Fetal Monitoring
Key words: alarm fatigue, clinical alarms, electronic fetal monitoring, labor nurses, nurses, physiologic monitoring alarms
Medical devices that generate clinical alertsand alarms are ubiquitous in the hospital setting. Caregivers can be exposed to hundreds of alarms over the course of their shift.1,2 As physiologic monitoring has become more com- mon, the technology is no longer limited to perioperative and intensive care units (ICUs). General nursing units have multiple electronic devices to routinely track patient vital signs and other physiologic data. Alarm fatigue in the ICU setting has been well studied.3-9 There is growing evidence that nurses perceive many clinical alerts and alarms as a nuisance, especially those that are inaccurate or nonactionable.3-6 Over time, false alarms and the constant visual and audi- ble notifications associated with nonactionable alarms can have a negative impact on nurses’
Author Affiliations: Mercy Hospital St Louis, Missouri (Dr Simpson); and Department of Family Health Care Nursing, UCSF School of Nursing, San Francisco, California (Dr Lyndon).
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s Web site (www.jncqjournal.com).
Correspondence: Kathleen Rice Simpson, PhD, RNC, CNS-BC, FAAN, Mercy Hospital St. Louis, 7140 Pershing Ave, St. Louis, MO 63130 (email@example.com).
Accepted for publication: March 8, 2018
Published ahead of print: June 8, 2018
response time, nurses’ trust of the clinical alarm system, and patient safety.3,4,6-9
Patients in the ICU can be assumed to have an illness or condition that requires constant moni- toring. ICU nurses are attuned to caring for crit- ically ill patients whose physiologic parameter changes may offer early warning of patient dete- rioration. In contrast, labor nurses care for gen- erally healthy women who are experiencing a normal life event, yet women in labor are be- ing exposed to an increasing number of moni- tors and their associated clinical alarm systems.10
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