Date of Graduation

Winter 12-18-2015

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


School of Nursing and Health Professions

First Advisor

Elena Capella



Alarm Management: Electrocardiographic Lead Management

Quality improvement and safety that incorporates the Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) competency of putting in place quality improvements plans that are bases on evidence, analysis, and risk anticipation is the thesis for this project. The associated problem is the myriads of electrocardiographic (ECG) alarms that alert staff to patient issues each day. Of those alerts, 88% to 90% are false or do not require immediate attention (Sendelbach & Jepsen, 2013). The high numbers of false alerts cause staff to become desensitized to the sound. This desensitization may cause staff not to respond to a critical patient need in a timely manner.

Objective: The primary objective of the project is to increase patient safety by decreasing the number of alarms alerts. This decrease will lessen the amount of alarm fatigue in the ICU staff. An additional objective includes the increase in staff's efficiency, as less time will be spent addressing inappropriate alarms that will improve both patient and staff satisfaction.

Population: The project's populations are the registered nurses and patients in a 20 bed Medical Surgical Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Method: Methods used for the project included a) a survey/pre-test to assess that staff's knowledge of alarm fatigue, b) a learning module that included a quiz that provided staff with information about the project and its processes, and c) the evaluation of staff's compliance to the project's processes and the assessment of the number of alarm alerts compared to baseline data.

Results: The project produced a six percent decrease in bed alarms and a 3.2 percent decrease in yellow (moderate) alerts. The total number of alerts decreased by 4.6% but did not meet the project's goal of a 5% reduction in alarm alerts. It is predicted that a greater number of alerts will decrease in the next phase of the alarm management project. This phase will include ECG alarm customization.


Sendelbach, S., & Jepsen, S. (2013, May). AACN practice alert: Alarm. American Association of Critical Care Nurses. Retrieved from