Cover image for Where have all the nurses gone? : the impact of the nursing shortage on American healthcare
Where have all the nurses gone? : the impact of the nursing shortage on American healthcare
Satterly, Faye.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Amherst, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, [2004]

Physical Description:
225 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
A nurse's life -- Where have all the nurses gone? -- One day in the life of a hospital executive -- Hospital economics: how nurses were lost -- Nurses & doctors -- And what about the patient? -- Enhancing the workplace: how hospitals retain nurses -- Nurses: creating solutions -- Accountability for health: it's not just for healthcare providers -- Advance directives: communicating your wishes -- Liability and healthcare -- Three West revisited.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
RT86.73 .S288 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



At 6:30 A.M. a head nurse reviews room assignments and the day's challenges ahead: twenty-nine patients, most of them seriously ill, and four nurses to care for them. That means a barely manageable and potentially risky patient-nurse ratio of seven to one, with one nurse taking eight patients. Unfortunately, this dismal scenario is played out again and again in hospitals across the country.
This in-depth, behind-the-scene's account of a healthcare system under stress and the declining quality of medical treatment in America should serve as a wakeup call to the public. Faye Satterly, a Registered Nurse with over two decades of experience, spells out the alarming statistics: The average nurse today is forty-five years old and anticipating retirement. Only 12 percent of nurses are under age thirty. At the same time, nursing schools report decreasing enrollments and fewer graduates. The result is that the nurses who are on the front lines of healthcare are feeling overwhelmed and leaving the field for less stressful opportunities outside hospital settings.
Compounding the looming crisis is the fact that just as nurses are becoming scarce, the need for them is becoming ever greater. Over the next decade, aging baby boomers will swell the ranks of the over-fifty-five population, a group that experiences higher healthcare needs than those in their thirties and forties.
There are answers, the author insists, but they will require an honest public debate about our choices and expectations. What are we willing to do and how much are we willing to pay for safe, effective delivery of healthcare?
This fascinating and disturbing account by a veteran nurse with extensive experience is a compelling call for action to counter the nursing shortage and ensure that "caring" regains its premium status in healthcare.

Author Notes

Faye Satterly is Cancer Services Director at Martha Jefferson Hospital, in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

A registered nurse, Satterly (cancer services director, Martha Jefferson Hosp., Charlottesville, VA) offers touching testament to the effect of the nursing shortage on the remaining nurses in the field and their ability to provide patient care. Through the eyes of fictionalized characters who represent real people in real situations, the author exposes readers to issues such as work stress, job dissatisfaction, and the pressures of a growing number of nursing specialties and hospital economic woes. Oddly enough, Satterly only briefly discusses how to address those problems. Six appendixes cover nursing organizations, specialty nurse organizations, groups supporting nurses (with reviews of some of their activities), help with advance directives, fighting obesity, and information for kids. Though selective, the lists in these appendixes do include contact information and web sites. There is also some sound advice for the patient. The personal, moving tone makes this work suitable for the public; researchers, however, would be better served by Nursing Shortage: Strategies for Recruitment and Retention in Clinical Practice and Education, which describes both the shortage and the steps to alleviate the crisis.-Margaret K. Norden, Marymount Univ. Lib., Arlington, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. 7
Introductionp. 9
1. A Nurse's Lifep. 21
2. Where Have All the Nurses Gone?p. 33
3. One Day in the Life of a Hospital Executivep. 51
4. Hospital Economics: How Nurses Were Lostp. 63
5. Nurses and Doctorsp. 81
6. And What about the Patient?p. 91
7. Enhancing the Workplace: How Hospitals Retain Nursesp. 109
8. Nurses: Creating Solutionsp. 125
9. Accountability for Health: It's Not Just for Healthcare Providersp. 147
10. Advance Directives: Communicating Your Wishesp. 163
11. Liability and Healthcarep. 175
12. Three West Revisitedp. 185
Appendix A Nursing Organizationsp. 197
Appendix B Specialty Nursing Organizationsp. 201
Appendix C Groups Supporting Nursesp. 209
Appendix D Help with Advance Directivesp. 213
Appendix E Fighting Obesity and Overweightp. 215
Appendix F Information for Kidsp. 221
Indexp. 223