Educational Program for Physiologic Monitor Use and Alarm Systems Safety: A Toolkit

Jo Anne Phillips, Azizeh Sowan, Halley Ruppel, Rochelle Magness

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Clinical alarm systems safety is a national healthcare concern in the United States. Physiologic monitors are the medical devices associated with the highest number of false and clinically insignificant alarms, producing alarm fatigue and a challenge to meet the national clinical alarm systems safety goal. Modern physiologic monitors are high-tech complex devices with multimeasurement modalities and high sensitivity for alarms. This complexity hinders safe operation of the monitors by nurses and appropriate management of associated alarms. Nurses need to integrate cognitive knowledge, psychomotor skills, and critical thinking to safely operate the monitors and support clinical decisions. Limited resources are available to support clinical education for nurses on physiologic monitor use and alarm management. This toolkit presents an educational framework for physiologic monitor use and alarm safety guided by adult learning principles. The components of the program are (1) knowledge, skills, and attitude of physiologic monitor use; (2) scenario-based learning model to support the knowledge, skills, and attitude necessary for safe monitor use; and (3) a framework for evaluating the educational program. Education should be ongoing and customized per facility to ensure safe use of complex technology and to decrease alarm fatigue, the leading cause of alarm-related sentinel events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-62
Number of pages13
JournalClinical Nurse Specialist
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • alarm safety
  • competency
  • education
  • nursing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management
  • Assessment and Diagnosis
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing
  • LPN and LVN


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