Intensive care unit nurse‘s reaction experience to patient monitoring medical device alarms

Eunjin Kim, Miyoung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study was done to explore the meaning of the intensive care unit (ICU) nurse’s alarm reaction and identify essential structure of the reaction experience. Methods: Data were collected through in-depth interviews with 10 intensive care unit nurses working in higher general hospital. Data collection and analysis were conducted simultaneously by applying Giorgi's phenomenological method. Results: The ICU nurse’s alarm reaction was shown to be in a dynamic structure to recognize and respond to alarms. Medical device alarms were recognized through alarm sounds and the importance of alarms was determined through previous experience of alarms and whether alarms were true or false. The problem solving ability to manipulate the alarm devices increased with reaction to alarms, and the nurses showed flexibility to individualize alarm settings according to patients’ situations, or respond to alarms according to priority considering the degree of emergency of alarms. In addition, nurses resolved alarms while feeling a sense of mutual responsibility among colleagues in emergency situations. Conclusion: The essential structure of ICU nurses’ alarm reaction revealed through this study was the recognition of and reaction to alarms, and the major characteristics explaining this structure were sensitivity, judgment, problem solving ability, flexibility, and mutual responsibility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-226
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Korean Academy of Nursing Administration
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Korean Academy of Nursing Administration


  • Clinical alarms
  • Intensive care units
  • Nurses
  • Phenomenology


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