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5th Edition of

Singapore Nursing Research Conference

March 24-26, 2025 | Singapore

Nursing 2022

Brenda Spear

Speaker at Singapore Nursing Research Conference 2022 - Brenda Spear
Chamberlain University, United States
Title: Stop the noise decrease non actionable Electrocardiograph alarms


Problem:  Excessive non-actionable ECG monitor alarm alerts lead nurses to become desensitized or alarm fatigued, causing caregivers to be less responsive for alarms that need immediate attention. Studies show that 80-99% of the alarms are non-actionable or clinically insignificant, which can cause a decrease in nurse’s response known as a “cry wolf” effect. The aim is to decrease the number of non-actionable alarms to heighten the nurse’s awareness to respond to actionable bedside alarms as well as enhance patient safety. This quality improvement project will address the following PICOT question: For the nursing staff in a critical care setting, will implementing the bundled approach alarm management protocol decrease the incidence of non-actionable ECG central monitor alarms in 8-10 weeks?

Methods: A 1.0 hour interactive rapid improvement workshop was provided to the critical care nurse  (n=26) regarding the following bundled evidence-based protocols: 1) Customizing alarms; 2) Assessing ECG tracing size and rhythm; 3) Assuring proper placement of ECG electrodes; 4) Verifying that ECG electrodes are timed, dated, and initialed; and 5) Changing ECG electrodes daily. Post workshop, feedback coaching and accountability audits were provided to assist the nurses which enhanced the sustainability of the practice protocols. For measurement, the total number of alarms were counted for two weeks pre-education workshop and for two weeks post-intervention. The General Electric Healthcare (GEH) alarm reporting tool (ART) was utilized on the critical care unit’s Solar 8000iV4 central monitors to collect the alarm count data. 

RESULTS:  The mean number of ECG alarm alerts per patient, per day, prior to the intervention was 594.95 compared to the post-intervention of 177.63 alarm alerts or a 70.1% reduction. When comparing pre- and post-intervention number of alerts, the Wilcoxon sum rank method was utilized to find a p value of < 0.001 or highly significant. The bundled approach to managing alarms decreased the mean number of alarm alerts.

Nursing Implications:  A decline in the number of non-actionable alarms can impact the healthcare environment in the following ways: promote patient safety, a quieter environment increases patient’s rest and recovery; nurses focus on actionable alarms; increases cost effectiveness; and satisfies The Joint Commission requirements. 



Brenda Spear is the campus president of Chamberlain University’s Cleveland campus. Spear has more than 30 years of experience in nurse education and executive nursing. Spear holds Advanced Board Certification as a nurse executive and a fellowship from National Advisory Board. She earned her second fellowship from the Academies of Practice. Spear achieved a Diploma in Nursing from St. Vincent Charity Hospital School of Nursing, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree from Medical College of Ohio, a Master of Science in Nursing from University of Phoenix and her Doctor of Nursing Practice from Chamberlain University.