Health Care's Human Crisis

The American Nursing Shortage

This report explores the history of nursing and places it in its modern-day context within the health care system. The authors examine the social, cultural and economic factors that drive the nursing shortage; take a look at other fields to see how they are coping with their own workforce shortages; and point to some lessons that nursing can learn from these efforts. A review of a broad cross-section of reports produced in 2000 and 2001 about the nursing shortage is included, along with findings from extensive interviews with representatives of various stakeholder groups.

The authors include a study of 15 health care markets around the country, in addition to presenting the results from focus groups of nurses conducted in three of these markets. The result offers valuable insight into the work environment from a nurses' perspective. This report provides a rare look at the range of approaches to the nursing shortage and the efforts being made across sectors and includes some interesting recommendations that are both bold and visionary.