Nurses Attend Training Course to Stay Alert

They’re often referred to as the backbone of the healthcare system. But when nurses work long shifts and are constantly bombarded with distractions, they can burn out pretty quickly. Medical Reporter Mark Charter joins us now with more. Mark?

(Mark Charter, Reporting):  Alan… ICU nurses tell me St. Alexius decided to put through training sessions that didn’t just have them reading through mountains of paperwork.

Hospitals can be chaotic, especially in areas like the Intensive Care Unit.

(Raumi Kudrna, RN, St. Alexius ICU):  “Something alarms suddenly three times in a row, that’s one we run to. When a ventilator goes off, it makes a ‘honk,’ and so that’s a different-sounding alarm. So because the alarms all sound differently, we know how to prioritize our care.” But even nurses who have been practicing for more than two decades say the constant knows even wears on them once in a while.

(Kollette Trottier, RN, St. Alexius):  “I think that’s where we become a little tuned-out because it is the same IV pump, every day on every patients.”

So St. Alexius decided to get hands-on.

(Kudrna):  “We roll-played out on video a situation where an alarm was going off frequently, and the nurse just ignored it.” And nurses say the experience was pretty eye-opening.

(Kudrna):  “It made us more alert that this could happen to us on a daily basis because we do experience so many alarms.” As you can imagine, alarm fatigue can kill a patient. So, along with training, some units at St. Alexius have turned to team nursing. 

(Kollette):  “You have numerous patients, you have nurse aids. Everyone is checking in on that patient… checking the alarms when they beep, checking nurse call lights. And then we have hourly rounding too.” So whether someone is there for an out-patient procedure or something a little more serious, you can bet that nurses at St. Alexius have a handle on each and every one of their patients. A survey released earlier this year says hospital staff across the country is exposed to an average 350 alarms per bed, per day. That was based on a sample from the Intensive Care Unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

Mark Charter Reporting