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Satterly, F. (2003). Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books. 225 pp. $21.00. (800) 421-0351.


This in-depth, behind-the-scenes account of a healthcare system under stress and the declining quality of medical treatment in America is meant to be a wake up call to the public. Faye Satterly, an RN with over 20 years experience, spells out the alarming statistics: The average nurse today is 45 years old and anticipating retirement. Only 12% of nurses are under age 30. Concurrently, nursing schools report decreasing enrollments and fewer graduates. The result is that the nurses who are on the front lines 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-55 population, a group that experiences higher healthcare needs than those in their thirties and forties. The author insists there are answers, but they will require an honest public debate about our choices and expectations. This fascinating and disturbing account by a veteran nurse is a compelling call for action to counter the nursing shortage to ensure that caring continues as a premium in healthcare.


Home Healthcare Nurse

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