This study examines what prompts the intensive care unit (ICU) nurse to go to the patient’s bedside to investigate an alarm and the influences on the nurse’s determination regarding how quickly this needs to occur.
A qualitative descriptive design guided data collection and analysis. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted. Thematic analysis guided by the Patient Risk Detection Theoretical Framework was applied to the data.
ICU nurses go the patient’s bedside in response to an alarm to catch patient deterioration and avert harm. Their determination of the immediacy of patient risk and their desire to prioritize their bedside investigations to true alarms influences how quickly they proceed to the bedside.
Ready visual access to physiological data and waveform configurations, experience, teamwork, and false alarms are important determinants in the timing of ICU nurses’ bedside alarm investigations.
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