SpO2 Monitoring


Hi. I am the educator on a 21 bed intermediate care unit that it med-surg-trauma oriented. We have trached patients who are both vented & on trach collars. We currently use telemetry technology & utilize a monitor tech to watch our monitors & alert nursing for abnormals. I am not sure why, but the monitor techs are having trouble grasping the concept that the SpO2 alarms are as important for our population as the ECG alarms. I was wondering if anyone else out there had experienced similar situations & what you are doing or have done to fix. Thanks!!



1,842 Posts

Has 20 years experience.

is it possible that they need more information/education about these monitors?


1,093 Posts

a few months ago - i had a pt in the GI lab w/ severe sleep apnea (would drop to spo2 of 50 in a heartbeat)

so when i took him to recovery - i let the nurse know this hx and that she would likely have to wake him to stimulate the breathing

i went back in an hour or so with another patient - noticed the previous pt sleeping - sat of 56% and alarms off.........

the alarms are important -esp if you are not watching them every second - which one can never really accomplish.


1,060 Posts

Specializes in Telemetry, ICU, Resource Pool, Dialysis. Has 11 years experience.

Our monitor techs monitor the entire hospital, as well as ICU. They have never been responsible for monitoring or reporting anything other that cardiac rhythms. There would be times when it would be great if they could watch everything, but it would be too much. Do you have any monitors at the nurse's station? We do, and this is where we monitor our own Spo2, art lines, etc. I really don't know how it's done in other ICUs, if the monitor techs monitor everything or just EKGs.

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