Enhancement in Education, Part Two: Why The Sound Your Alarm Clock Makes Could Save Your Life

This story is part of an ongoing series about the BYU College of Nursing’s Mary Jane Rawlinson Geertsen Nursing Learning Center and the College’s constant efforts to update it.

Beep! Beep! Beep! The infusion pump has little tolerance for delay, and so when its user stalls in making a decision, a high pitched beep illustrates its displeasure. It continues to beep at other moments when the user attempts to get an intravenous line ready.

Some may get annoyed by the noise; however, that is one of the benefits of the new brand of IV pumps used by the Mary Jane Rawlinson Geertsen Nursing Learning Center (NLC).

Rebecca Edmunds, a student employee at the NLC, thinks that these pumps are much better than the old ones, mainly due to their being much more user-friendly, as well as safer for patients. “They’re easy to train on,” she says.

Part of that may be because any time that a nurse might mess up the IV administration, the beeping begins.

“There’s a lot of safeties built into this that were not in the previous pump,” Edmunds says. This includes a light system that indicates if an IV delivery is going smoothly, as well as the ability to automatically cut off an IV if something goes wrong.

Another plus for the new machines is that they are preprogrammed with information about usual drug dosages for patients—it will ask multiple times if a nurse is certain he or she wants to administer certain quantities of the drug, thus reducing the chance of medical error.


NLC supervisor Colleen Tingey works to set up one of the new IV infusion pumps.

“The coolest thing about these is that they can associate to charting,” Edmunds says. This means that when an IV is running, the information can be given real-time to the patient’s hospital file, and others can remotely see what treatment is being administered.

NLC supervisor Colleen Tingey explains that the pumps were changed from their previous brand when Intermountain Healthcare switched its main brand to Alaris earlier this year, as many students do their clinicals at their hospitals. However, she says, the idea is to help students get used to using IV pumps in general since there are so many different brands in use in the medical world.

“To have lots of different kinds and to try and teach lots of different kinds is just cumbersome,” she says. “We can’t do that, so we tried to do what the majority of students will see.”


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