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Impacts of Alarm Fatigue in Telemetry

Impacts of Alarm Fatigue in Telemetry

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Frequent experience of false alarms can have drastic impacts on nurses’ sensitization and their response to the patients they are monitoring. When there are a lot of false alarms, the nurses may become overwhelmed and their responses to these alarms maybe being quite low. The nurses are likely to react due to their desensitization by ignoring the alarm, disabling them or even switching them off. Besides their impacts on nurses, false alarms may adversely affect the health and safety of the patients (Deborah, Patricia, James, Karen L. Villanova, Charlotte, Eric, 2013). The kind of noise that results from the alarms may heighten the patients’ anxiety as well as diminishing they hope of getting better.

It has become the norm to use alarms in telemetry units that alerts the nurses in instances where there are occurrences of dysrhythmias or when the limits are exceeded in the unit (Nemeth, 2008). This kind of monitoring is being applied in almost all types of intensive care units and to some extent, it is also being adopted to enhance patients’ outcomes especially those who are not in critical conditions in surgical units (Gross, Dahl & Nielsen, January 01, 2011). Due to some defects in these devices, they often produce false alarms to sensitize the nurses on the urgency of the situation. It is very demoralizing when a nurse receives an urgent alarm on a patient they are monitoring only to realize that the alarm run by a mistake and there is no urgent issue that needs to be taken care of (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation., & Institute of Medicine, 2011). Statement of the research problem

What are the impacts of the alarm fatigue in telemetry on nurses and patients’ health care?

Study questions

  • Does alarm fatigue have some impacts on nurses’ motivation?
  • Is there any relationship between alarm fatigue in telemetry and the poor performance of nurses?
  • Are there some effects of alarm fatigue on the heath care of patients?
  • What risks does alarm fatigue pose to both nurses and patients?
  • What safety measures can be employed in managing alarm fatigue in telemetry?


  • To explore the impacts of alarm fatigue in telemetry on nurses and patient’s healthcare
  • To find out the relationship between alarm fatigue and nurses’ performance
  • Are there some effects of alarm fatigue on the heath care of patients?


If alarm fatigue has adverse effects on nurses and patients then it is safer to monitor patients without the use of alarms.

Significance of the research problem

Following a critical analysis of the existing literature work on alarm fatigue in telemetry, the researcher realized that very little has been done on the impacts of alarm fatigue in telemetry on nurses and health care of the patients. In the available researches, the investigators had restricted themselves on devising techniques that could curb the problem of alarm fatigue. The researcher noted that, they quench for getting solution to this problem will be more effective if the impacts of this issue are identified. The researcher therefore intends to conduct a thorough research to investigate the impacts that alarm fatigue has on both nurses and patients healthcare.

PICOT Research Model

What are the impacts of the alarm fatigue in telemetry on nurses and patients’ health care?

  • Patient/population – Nurses and patients
  • Intervention – Alarm fatigue in telemetry
  • Comparison – Patients monitored using alarms in surgical units to those who are not monitored by use of alarms. Also, nurses monitoring patients using alarms experiences a higher level of fatigue as compared to and those who monitor their patients without the use of alarms.
  • Outcome – Reduction of nurses’ fatigue and enhancement of patients’ health care.
  • Time frame – A year

Analysis of the feasibility of the research questions

Prior to conducting the actual research in the field, the researcher will study the existing evidence on the impacts of fatigue alarms in telemetry to both nurses and patients. Proposed ways of encountering this problem will also be taken into consideration so as to be able to link the proposed ways with the effects. This is imperative since it can help in identifying sections of the suggested solution that may require modifications before implementation. The researcher will assess the availability of adequate information in the already existing medical documentation in order to determine how practicability the research is likely to be. Furthermore, the research will examine the possibility of removal of alarms to non-critical patients. This will be achieved through the comparison of the efficiency and the outcome of the non-patients with alarms as compared to those without.

A comparison of the impacts of alarms used in non-critical patients on the nurses will also be incorporated in this analysis so that the researcher can be able to determine the possibility of doing away with the use of alarms on non-critical patients. Incorporation of a pilot project in determination of the viability of this research could also be significant because the researcher will able to predetermine the kind of problems that could be experienced in the field during the actual research. Such as a step would help in improving and modifying the research plan that has been already been proposed as well as developing backup systems in case some mechanisms don’t workout as expected. Keywords

The following keywords will be used in this research: Alarm fatigue, nurses, patients, healthcare, telemetry, hospital, surgical unit care, Patient’s safety, alarm noise, The Joint Commission.

These keywords were specifically chosen because they will enable the researcher to express all the ideas in a nursing environment. Furthermore, these keywords will make the research paper more discoverable for easy access and retrieval by the interested parties.


Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing, at the Institute of Medicine., Robert Wood Johnson Foundation., & Institute of Medicine (U.S.). (2011). The future of nursing: Leading change, advancing health. Washington, D.C: National Academies Press.

Deborah A. Whalen, Patricia M. Covelle, James C. Piepenbrink, Karen L. Villanova, Charlotte L. Cuneo, Eric H. Awtry. (2013). Novel Approach to Cardiac Alarm Management on Telemetry units. The Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 1 DOI: 10.1097/JCN.0000000000000114

Gross, B., Dahl, D., & Nielsen, L. (January 01, 2011). Physiologic monitoring alarm load on medical/surgical floors of a community hospital. Biomedical Instrumentation & Technology / Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation, 2011, 29-36.

Nemeth, C. P. (2008). Improving healthcare team communication: Building on lessons from aviation and aerospace. Aldershot, England: Ashgate.

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