Smart care for dealing with nurses' alarm fatigue in the intensive care unit

Ali Movahedi, Afsaneh Sadooghiasl, Fazlollah Ahmadi, Mojtaba Vaismoradi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Alarm fatigue is a condition in which a person experiences sensory overload or desensitization in exposure to frequent non-actionable alarms. Nurses are the main users of alarms in health care and their behaviors for alarm management influence the occurrence of alarm fatigue.

OBJECTIVES: This qualitative research aimed to explore strategies used by nurses in dealing with nurses' alarm fatigue in the intensive care unit (ICU).

DESIGN: Qualitative research was carried out. Eighteen nurses working in ICUs were selected purposefully and were invited to take part in individual semi-structured interviews. Collected data were analyzed using content analysis for developing categories and subcategories.

SETTING: Twelve ICUs in ten hospitals in four urban areas of Iran.

RESULTS: The research's main category was "smart care" consisting of two categories of "technologic actions" and "non-technologic actions." Also, six subcategories were developed: "identifying the cause and taking timely actions", "personalized alarm settings", "reducing the number of unnecessary alarms", "effective teamwork", "improving the physical environment and ward arrangement", and "self-calmness".

CONCLUSION: Smart care by nurses included a set of active and proactive interventions developed through thinking and reflection and the use of information, skills, and experiences in order to manage exposure to alarm fatigue. Strategies used by nurses to prevent alarm fatigue can reduce the physical and psychological burden caused by frequent exposure to alarms in the ICU and consequently can have direct impacts on the quality and safety of nursing care.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Nurses in the healthcare process often experience alarm fatigue that is influenced by the cultural-contextual aspect of care and the care environment. Smart care in terms of technologic and non-technologic actions helps with the prevention of alarm fatigue.

Original languageEnglish
JournalImage: Journal of Nursing Scholarship
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Jan 2023


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