1. Wright, Kathy RNC, MS, CWOCN, Reviewer

Article Content

In Our Hands: How Hospitals Can Build a Thriving Workforce


By American Hospital Association Commission on Workforce for Hopsitals and Health Systems. Washington DC: American Hospital Association 2002. $20.00 (nonmembers) $10 (members). ISBN: 155648301-5. 94 pages.


One of the most pressing problems facing the healthcare field, particularly the nursing profession, is the workforce shortage. Most clinicians are aware of the problem, and many have been called to serve on task forces to explore solutions. Just more than 1 year ago, the American Hospital Association (AHA) charged a 30-member commission to develop recommendations for specific strategies to address the root causes of the shortage now and an innovative action plan to ensure a long-term supply of qualified and enthusiastic care providers for the future. The individuals from hospitals and health systems, from national professional and labor organizations, and from education and business communities who joined forces to produce this report emphasize that hospital leaders must take the lead in implementing the suggested initiatives.


The report stresses the need for collaborative efforts beyond the hospital community, with educational institutions, corporations, and foundations, along with community and national organizations.


The text introduces the scope of the problem with an introduction entitled A Looming Crisis in Care. The challenges toward solutions are divided into 5 chapters:Foster Meaningful Work, Improve Workplace Partnership, Broaden the Base, Collaborate with Others, and Build Societal Support. The broad challenge of each chapter is then made actionable, with examples and "success stories" of specific facilities across the country, many of which offer contact information for further discussion. As efforts focus on increasing workforce diversity, appendices include listings of historically Black and Hispanic colleges and universities. A fold-out overview, entitled The Workforce Strategy Map, provides a well-developed executive summary of the AHA Commission's important work.


Early in the text is an interesting grid comparison of The Way Generations See the World, that may assistance in the tactical recommendation of having multigenerational work teams understand and respect their differing perspectives. In addressing efforts to improve the workplace partnership, the responses of more than 60,000 people to a survey related to employee/employer needs are summarized by Aon Consulting in a Performance Pyramid; similar to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs theory, it was identified that there is a foundation of safety/security that must be met before professional growth toward work/life harmony can occur. Later in the report, key middle-management competencies are identified and discussed to reach the strategic recommendation to measure, improve, and reward the capabilities of front-line managers, who are key to retention of satisfied long-term employees. These are just a few examples of the interesting tools that clinical nurse specialists and all healthcare professionals will find helpful in this information-packed report. Individuals interested in purchasing this AHA report may call AHA Order Services at 800-242-2626 and request Item 210101.