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Mandatory Quiet Period Helps Patients Recover

By Staff | Oct 6, 2016

QUIET TIME -- Jeremy McDevitt (left) and Alyssa Michael, two nurses at Palo Alto County Health System, graduated from a 12 month Nurse Residency program at Mercy North Iowa. Their evidenced based research poster presented at graduation was titled "In Healthcare Facilities, Is a Mandatory Quiet Period Beneficial?" Based on the research findings, Palo Alto County Hospital will begin a quiet time for inpatients from 2 pm to 4 pm daily. --submitted photo

Hospital patients who are allowed a mandatory quiet time with no interruptions have shorter recovery periods according to research by two nurses at Palo Alto County Health System (PACHS).

Jeremy McDevitt and Alyssa Michael, who were enrolled in a 12 month residency program at Mercy in Mason City, presented an evidenced based research poster on graduation day answering the question, “In Healthcare Facilities, Is a Mandatory Quiet Period Beneficial?”

Their research findings found that patients recovered faster and implementation of mandatory quiet time or rest period provided positive patient satisfaction. Both patients and nurses also had reduced stress levels and anxiety.

Based on these findings, each day from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm the patient wing at Palo Alto County Health System will implement a quiet time for patients. An overhead announcement will notify staff and visitors that quiet time is beginning. Noise levels will be reduced and lights will be dimmed. Overhead paging and phone calls will be limited. Patients will be given eye masks and ear plugs in their care packets to help them relax. Nurses will round with patients before the start to make sure the patients are comfortable and have all their immediate needs taken care of. Visitors are asked to respect the quiet time and plan visits around this special time each day. Every effort will be made to limit interruptions.

“We are excited to be able to put these research findings to work at Palo Alto County Health System”, commented Annie Zwiefel, RN, BSN, Nurse Manager at PACHS. “We know our patients will do better with an uninterrupted few hours of complete rest each afternoon.”

McDevitt and Michael did their research as a part of the Nurse Residency program which supports newly licensed Registered Nurses in the transition role from student to competent practicing nurse. The program addresses such things as:

Building Community

Critical Thinking

Patient Safety Leadership


Elevating Practice to Improve Patient Outcomes

Patient and Family Centered Care

Professional Progression

Jeremey McDevitt and Alyssa Michael were committed to the program for 12 months, meeting on a monthly basis in Mason City along with 11 others in their cohort. They were supported by their Nurse Manager at PACHS to review the monthly curriculum and how it could be applied to Palo Alto County Health System.