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Managing Alarm Fatigue: New Approaches and Best Practices

Part of AACN Critical Care Webinar Series

Presenter(s): Sue Sendelbach, RN,PhD,CCNS; Maria Cvach, DNP, RN, FAAN; Marjorie Funk, RN,MSN,PhD,FAAN,FAHA

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Webinar Summary

ECRI Institute identifies alarm hazards as its Top Health Technology Hazard for 2013 and the Joint Commission issued an April 2013 Sentinel Event Alert on alarm fatigue. As the number of medical devices — each with its own alarm — continues to increase within acute and critical care environments, so does the potential impact on patient safety.

Webinar panelists will discuss the scope of the problem and management of environmental alarms for improved patient safety, and will provide strategies nurses can employ to create a more effective (and quieter) workplace.


  • Discuss how alarm management can enhance patient safety.
  • Identify 2 current best practices to optimize monitor alarms.

About the Presenters

Sue Sendelbach, RN,PhD,CCNS

Sue Sendelbach, RN,PhD,CCNS

Dr. Sue Sendelbach is Director of Nursing Research and a clinical nurse specialist (CNS) at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. She is certified as a critical care CNS (CCNS) and has actively practiced in this area for more than 20 years. Dr. Sendelbach is a member of the Association of the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation’s Alarm Fatigue workgroup.

Maria Cvach, DNP, RN, FAAN

Maria Cvach, DNP, RN, FAAN

Maria Cvach is a practicing cardiac and critical care nurse who currently serves as assistant director of nursing at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore. At Johns Hopkins, Ms. Cvach manages clinical standards and evidence-based practice nursing, and also serves as co-chair of the hospital’s Alarm Management Committee. Ms. Cvach has presented on the topic of alarm fatigue at the National Alarm Summit (October, 2011) and the International Society for Computerized Electrocardiology (April, 2012).

Marjorie Funk, RN,MSN,PhD,FAAN,FAHA

Marjorie Funk, RN,MSN,PhD,FAAN,FAHA

Dr. Marjorie Funk is a professor at the Yale University School of Nursing, New Haven, Connecticut. Her research focuses on the wise use of technology in caring for critically ill patients with heart disease, with electrocardiographic (ECG) monitoring figuring prominently throughout her career. Dr. Funk sits on the Board of Directors for the Healthcare Technology Foundation and serves on the Alarm Best Practices Group for the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation’s (AAMI) Healthcare Technology Safety Institute.

Continuing Education Disclosure Statement

Successful Completion

Learners must attend/view/read the entire activity and complete the associated evaluation to be awarded the contact hours or CERP. No partial credit will be awarded.


This activity has been reviewed by the Nurse Planner. It has been determined that the material presented here shows no bias. Approval of a continuing education activity does not imply endorsement by AACN or ANCC of any commercial products displayed or discussed in conjunction with the activity.


The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC's) Commission on Accreditation. ANCC Provider Number 0012 (60 min contact hour). AACN has been approved as a provider of continuing education in nursing by the California State Board of Nursing California Provider number CEP01036 contact hours (50 min contact hour).

AACN programming meets the standards for most states that require mandatory continuing education contact hours for license and/or certification renewal. AACN recommends consulting with your state board of nursing or credentialing organization before submitting CE to fulfill continuing education requirements.