The Joint Commission has called for improvements in clinical alarm safety, but nurses can't do it on their own. They need the help of device manufacturers, hospital leaders, and quality and risk management specialists.
When was the last time you responded to the sound of a car alarm? The noise may have been irritating, but it probably didn't raise enough concern to warrant a call to the police.
"When car alarms first came out, we heard those and were like, 'Hey, someone's ripping that guy's car off!'" says Michele M. Pelter, RN, PhD, assistant professor at University of California, San Francisco School of Nursing and director of the ECG monitoring research lab in the school's department of physiological nursing.
"And then we realized, well no it isn't [being stolen]. Somebody bumped it, or it's the wind, or a motorcycle went past. And so we now ignore those."
Jennifer Thew, RN, is the senior nursing editor at HealthLeaders.