Nurses face urgent scenarios every day that require quick thinking. A keen sense of situational awareness—i.e. understanding what’s happening with a patient and what’s likely to happen in the future—is critical to clinical decision-making. However, actually achieving situational awareness is threatened by nurse fatigue, which is dangerous for both clinicians and patients.
When it comes to purchasing a new nurse call system, it’s easy to focus on meeting the needs of the clinical team. But nurses aren’t the only hospital employees who care about the nurse call system. Hospital facility directors are also vested in the purchasing or decision-making team at most healthcare facilities.
Every year, between 700,000 and 1 million patients in the United States accidentally fall in a hospital, according to research from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). A bad fall can result in a fracture, laceration, internal bleeding and even death. But research indicates that one-third of falls in the hospital can be prevented.
At Amplion, we care about ensuring our customers are successful. While we build state-of-the-art technology, what we really sell is positive outcomes. That’s why we created the Clinical Integration and Outcomes (CIAO) team. We leverage our more than 35 years of hands-on clinical experience to help you determine what’s working well in your hospital and identify areas for improvement.
It doesn’t take much effort to learn how frustrated clinicians are with the traditional nurse call system. Just type “nurse call system problems” into Google’s search engine, and you’ll get more than 55 million results in a matter of seconds. For years, nurse call systems have been trapped in the past. The traditional nurse call system—a complex system of electrical wiring based on technology from the 1970s—is typically unintelligent and outdated, creating alerts without context. Alerts are often delivered without enough information to properly respond.. Traditional technology is basically an “all call” to anyone and everyone. These non-specific alerting events can lead to alarm fatigue, which occurs when clinicians are exposed to an excessive amount of alarms. Alarm fatigue often results in desensitization and even missed alarms.
Situational awareness isn’t a term frequently defined or discussed by circles of clinicians or healthcare professionals. In fact, it’s more commonly used in high-reliability industries such as aviation, military operations and engineering. But as medical professionals begin to understand the important link between situational awareness—i.e. having an accurate understanding of what’s happening with the patient and what’s likely to happen in the future—and clinical decision-making, the phrase is gaining more traction in the healthcare industry.
Clinical alarms were designed with the best of intentions—to alert clinicians about patient emergencies or changes in patient conditions. Most bedside medical devices, such as monitors, infusion pumps and ventilators, are alarm-equipped, but the lack of interoperability among these devices means multiple noises per patient room. Depending on the hospital unit, the number of clinical alerts per patient per day can result in thousands of alarm signals on every unit and tens of thousands throughout the hospital. The inevitable result? Alarm fatigue. The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) defines alarm fatigue as “sensory overload when clinicians are exposed to an excessive number of alarms, which can result in desensitization to alarms and missed alarms.”
As a rule, nurses love their jobs. Despite the demanding, fast-paced environment, many nurses enjoy their career because they get to make a difference, positively impact patients’ lives and help people through vulnerable moments.
The healthcare market is competitive. As consumers take more control of their healthcare decisions, they’re being more selective in who they choose to provide care and where they go to receive it. That’s why it is more important than ever for hospitals to focus on improving the patient experience. Hospitals that produce higher patient experience scores are more successful than hospitals that don’t.
Nurses are undeniably the backbone of the hospital. For the last 16 years, nursing has held the highest position on Gallup’s annual survey of the public’s trust in occupation—high above positions such as doctors, lawyers, pharmacists and bankers. And that trust is well-deserved: nurses tend to patients’ wounds, administer medications, educate patients about medical tests and treatments, celebrate births and remarkable recoveries, and provide comfort for those facing disappointing news or hard decisions.