Date of Graduation

Summer 8-17-2015

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


School of Nursing and Health Professions

First Advisor

T.Gallo, DNP, CNL

Second Advisor

Elena Capella, EdD, MSN, MPA, RN, CNL, CPHQ, LNCC


The global aim of this project was to improve patient safety on the Surgical Unit at an acute care facility in Southern California through enhanced cardiac alarm customization. Alarms are intended to enhance patient safety. However, unnecessary and non-actionable alarms contribute to alarm desensitization and fatigue, lessening response time to critical alerts. Alarm fatigue has become a growing patient safety concern and is included as one of the Joint Commission’s 2015 National Patient Safety Goals. Assessment data on the Surgical Unit revealed lack of alarm customization and inappropriate default settings. The framework for the project focuses on the CNL curriculum element of Care Environment Management and the CNL functions in the role of Information Manager.

The specific aim of this project was to reduce the number of cardiac alarms by 20% on the Surgical Unit by August 8th, 2015. Nurses were provided education on the problem of alarm fatigue and evidenced based guidelines including alarm customization. Alarm default settings were adjusted to more appropriately match the patient population. Six hours of alarm data was collected prior to and after implementation. A 32% reduction in cardiac alarms was observed following intervention, exceeding the goal of 20%. Pre and post intervention data indicated a need for further education regarding lead management, due to the high volume of artifact related alarms. Future work will also focus on evaluating patient and nurse satisfaction.

Included in

Nursing Commons