This is a good thread Kristi!
I love your post Prmenrs because is speaks volumes! Leadership really has to be committed to change, and the changes must be done slowly as you mentioned through committee involvement. Too much change too fast tends to be less effective, for sure.
When our manager felt our unit was too loud, be it from voices, buzzers, alarms, trash cans, doors, etc, she found a company that makes devices that record sound in decibels. She had two installed in our unit and they were connected to a light that would light up over the main doorway (where our L&D emergency lights were also) when the noise level became too high. Interestingly, it was mainly voices that caused the thing to light up.
We also had some new neonatologists come to join our team and they were very into developmental care. They instituted a "Quiet Time" from 2:00 to 4:00 each am and pm. The lights would be turned down as low as possible, no procedures would be scheduled, and we nurses and RTs would do our best to leave the babies alone to rest and have their own quiet time. It worked out great once we all became used to it. It gave us a chance to catch up on charting, restock carts, take breaks, etc. Of course we were busy trying to get all we could done before quiet time began and then were busy again afterwards, but it really worked out very well.
Our new unit had padded walls and acoustic ceiling tiles. We did have carpet in half the area (mainly the walking area) which was cleaned once a month depending on our census. When the census got low enough to move all the babies to one side of the nursery, we'd do so and call in the carpet cleaner. Then we'd move the babies back to the other side to have the other side cleaned. Our nursery was very, very quiet and had lots of different ways to be lit (from super dim to bright) but I think a thickly padded lineolium tile would have been best.
Hooray to everyone who embraces developmental care practices!!!