Hospital Beep Syndrome

Nurses General Nursing

Published a brand new grad from nursing school, I was wondering if this is a unexpected, albeit NORMAL side effect from working in a hospital.

I first noticed this into my 3rd week of working 12 hr shifts. When I would arrive home after work, I would literally hear call lights, monitors, telephones RINGING in my ears... even when I was sequestered away in the comfort of my home! The pitches and intervals were even the same--which I thought was freaky. Try as I might, I could not control the frequency or presence of the noise, and I just had to endure the 'phantom' rings until my unconsciousness finally released me.

I'm now into my 6th week of hospital staff nursing, and I'm still bothered by these auditory 'hallucinations.' I was just wondering if this is a common phenomenon that is a result of the excessive noise stimulation nurses are subjected to...?? Or am I just going crazy...?

If there are BYCHANCE any fellow sufferers of this, please feel free to recommend how to

rid your mind of the phantom beeps...they are interfering with my sleep schedule. :-/

Specializes in Certified Med/Surg tele, and other stuff.

I don't hear them at home, but I'm pretty noise weary by the end of my shift. I don't turn on the radio when I leave for my 30 min drive. I like the silence of the car.

Where I am shell shocked is the word "Code". I have a grocery store nearby that has a Code 26. I have no idea what the hell that is, but when I hear the over head come on, and say that word, it's all I can do to refrain myself from jumping on some poor soul and starting CPR.

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

Ohhhh..... I used to hear call lights and ringing phones in my sleep. OP, you have my sympathies!

Specializes in Trauma, ER, ICU, CCU, PACU, GI, Cardiology, OR.

I still hear all the bells & whistles and my office is located at the administration building away from the main hospital...just saying :cool:

yes, After work i sometimes hear them but it usually goes away after the first hour. only to occasionally return in my sleep!

Specializes in NICU, Infection Control.

I had a job in an ICU ~ 1970. Hard to imagine, even for me and I was there, but there was no such thing as a "calculator". The closest thing was an adding machine, and we didn't have one.

This unit took care of p/op kidney transplant. I don't know what the protocol is now, but @ that time, they had a very complicated fluid regime. There was a maintanence fluid, and 2 other IV fluids, like L/R and maybe D10 1/2 NSS or something. The pt got 25ml/hr of the maintanence stuff, and alternated the other 2. How much depended on the previous hours output, so every hour, we changed the IV rate and the fluid.

Needless to say, the I & Os were a nightmare. And, since I was the night nurse, I got the joyous task of computing them. Columns and rows of 3 digit numbers, and they had to match up @ the end. If everyone else had added correctly, it was just a little bookkeeping. But if someone made a error @ 1400, the numbers didn't match, and I got to spend 2 hrs or so going back and finding the boo-boo until the numbers DID match.

If you're wondering how this is related to the OP, when I went home in the morning, I would dream of columns of 3 digit #s all day long. The docs finally did get us an adding machine. OH, the good times! lol

Specializes in NICU, Infection Control.

OP: you can get an app on your phone that will make a "white noise" like rain or a fan; if you put that on, it might give your brain something else to focus on.

Specializes in Dementia/ Geriatrics.

I know what you mean. We have tab alarms in long term care and whenever I hear anything like it I'm looking for whose moving or on the floor. Try some peace when you get home to relax. I usually take a bath or a glass of wine to unwind my brain.

Specializes in med-surg, psych, ER, school nurse-CRNP.

I'm a sleepwalker by nature anyway, but back in the day when I worked the floor, I had the same issue. I worked nights, as did my DH. Several times I woke up to find him leading me back to our bed. I'd get up, tell him that I was "going to catch that IV pump and I'd be right back", and out the door I'd go!

It didn't stop till I quit that job when I graduated NP school.

Specializes in Acute Care, Rehab, Palliative.

The floor I work on ( like many floors) has several different alarms.Call bells, chair alarms, door alarms, IV alarms etc. One day I was standing in line at a burger place and some kind of alarm went off.It sounded like one of our door alarms and I immediately scanned the doors to see who had "gotten out"

I also go to bed and hear bells all night in my sleep.

In the game Taboo, there is a buzzer. This buzzer sounds exactly like the call-lights at the first LTC facility I worked in. I still can't play that game. Family members thought it great fun to chase me around the house pushing that thing.

I've also heard "call lights" when the telephone rang - it was the same frequency and made me jump every time. Got rid of that. Fast food places have alarms that sound the same as alarms at work (someone above mentioned that already.) Drive-thru only for me.

Also had the dreaming about work and hearing things in my sleep. But mostly when I worked nights.

If you're working nights, you might be having difficulty adjusting to sleeping during the day. Or if you had to adjust your sleeping schedule at all. Trying to reset your circadian rhythm can really screw with your head. You might want to talk to your MD about this if that's the case.

Specializes in nursing education.

Yes, I used to have that all the time. The beeps would get stuck in my ears, just like pungent patient aromas (iliostomy comes to mind) would get seem to linger in my nose. I think this is kind of common. I noticed it was way worse when work was more stressful or if we were short.

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