Chat with us, powered by LiveChat
This website uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some of these cookies are used for visitor analysis, others are essential to making our site function properly and improve the user experience. By using this site, you consent to the placement of these cookies. Click Accept to consent and dismiss this message or Deny to leave this website. Read our Privacy Statement for more.
Store   |   Nursing Careers   |   Search   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In   |   Join/Renew
Press Releases : 2016 Press Releases

NWH Explores Patient Safety Implications of High Number of Electronic Notifications during Labor

Tuesday, December 13, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Courtney Duggan
Share |


Lack of Standardized Alarm Parameters in Clinical Settings Increases Risk of “Alarm Fatigue” and May Lead to Preventable Harm to Women and Infants


Washington, DC, December 13, 2016 – Nurses are exposed to up to 1,000 electronic alerts and alarms each shift, and most (between 85% and 99% according to research) do not require clinical intervention. This can contribute to alarm fatigue, or desensitization to alarms among clinicians, which may put patients at risk of preventable harm.

In “Patient Safety Implications of Electronic Alerts and Alarms of Maternal-Fetal Status During Labor,” authors Kathleen Rice Simpson, PhD, RNC, CNS-BC, FAAN; Audrey Lyndon, PhD, RNC, FAAN; and Leigh Ann Davidson, RNC-MNN, BSN, explore the consequences of the lack of standardization of electronic alerts and alarms in the labor and delivery setting. This article appears in the August/September 2016 issue of Nursing for Women’s Health, a journal of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN).

The lack of standardization in alarms and alerts can make it difficult for nurses and other clinicians to know what to expect and how to react appropriately. In some instances, for example, equipment is pre-programmed with a wide range of limits resulting in a potential increase in the number of false alarms. Alternatively, a smaller range of limits could result in the oversight of a clinical problem. In the labor and birth setting, there are multiple models of electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) equipment each of which operates with its own default settings.  The potential for desensitization increases when nurses are unsure of the pre-set parameters for the equipment they are using.

In other instances, a nurse may disable or silence alarms, in which case there is a risk that they will miss notifications that warrant clinical action. Standardization of alerts is needed, along with further investigation to understand whether all alarms require acknowledgment and, if so, what is the expected response time.

“As nurses, it is paramount to provide high quality care to women in labor,” said AWHONN CEO, Lynn Erdman, MN, RN, FAAN. “Further research must be done to understand fully the impact of electronic alerts and to ensure that nurses are equipped with the right tools to provide the best care for their patients.”

For media interviews, contact:

Yakesha Cooper for AWHONN



About Nursing for Women's Health

Nursing for Women's Health is a bimonthly refereed clinical practice journal of the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses. The journal circulates to more than 25,000 nurses who care for women and newborns and is available online at



Since 1969, the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) has been the foremost authority promoting the health of women and newborns and strengthening the nursing profession through the delivery of superior advocacy, research, education, and other professional and clinical resources. AWHONN represents the interests of 350,000 registered nurses working in women's health, obstetric, and neonatal nursing across the United States. Learn more about AWHONN at

As a nurse you have the ability to make a difference in your patients’ lives. AWHONN membership provides you with the resources, tools and opportunities to provide the best care to your patients. JOIN NOW
Purchase our high-quality clinical content through books, live courses, online education, webinars and our groundbreaking line of evidence-based guidelines. PURCHASE NOW
Online Learning Center
The definitive resource for interactive, engaging CNE education through our Postpartum Hemorrhage, Maternal Fetal Triage and POEP online courses, webinars, award-winning journals and much more. ACCESS NOW


Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.

AWHONN is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider #CEP580. Accredited status does not imply endorsement by AWHONN or the American Nurses Credentialing Center of any commercial products displayed or discussed in conjunction with educational activities.

Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal