Physiologic Monitor Alarm Burden and Nurses' Subjective Workload in a Children's Hospital.

TitlePhysiologic Monitor Alarm Burden and Nurses' Subjective Workload in a Children's Hospital.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsRasooly IR, Kern-Goldberger AS, Xiao R, Ponnala S, Ruppel H, Luo B, Craig S, Khan A, McLoone M, Ferro D, Muthu N, Won J, Bonafide CP
JournalHosp Pediatr
Date Published2021 Jun 01

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Physiologic monitor alarms occur at high rates in children's hospitals; ≤1% are actionable. The burden of alarms has implications for patient safety and is challenging to measure directly. Nurse workload, measured by using a version of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Task Load Index (NASA-TLX) validated among nurses, is a useful indicator of work burden that has been associated with patient outcomes. A recent study revealed that 5-point increases in the NASA-TLX score were associated with a 22% increased risk in missed nursing care. Our objective was to measure the relationship between alarm count and nurse workload by using the NASA-TLX.

METHODS: We conducted a repeated cross-sectional study of pediatric nurses in a tertiary care children's hospital to measure the association between NASA-TLX workload evaluations (using the nurse-validated scale) and alarm count in the 2 hours preceding NASA-TLX administration. Using a multivariable mixed-effects regression accounting for nurse-level clustering, we modeled the adjusted association of alarm count with workload.

RESULTS: The NASA-TLX score was assessed in 26 nurses during 394 nursing shifts over a 2-month period. In adjusted regression models, experiencing >40 alarms in the preceding 2 hours was associated with a 5.5 point increase (95% confidence interval 5.2 to 5.7; < .001) in subjective workload.

CONCLUSION: Alarm count in the preceding 2 hours is associated with a significant increase in subjective nurse workload that exceeds the threshold associated with increased risk of missed nursing care and potential patient harm.

Alternate JournalHosp Pediatr
PubMed ID34074710