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How Hospital Leaders Can Build A Thriving Workforce

April 2002

AHA Commission on Workforce for Hospitals and Health Systems

Among the many issues facing the field of health care, none is more important to its long-term future than solving the growing workforce crisis. Fundamentally, good health care is people caring for people. Plus, good hospital care is numerous caregivers in a variety of occupations providing services to patients on an individual, highly personalized basis. The provision of that care is made possible by workers in many fields who support the systems and resources that sustain both patients and caregivers. The work is demanding, but can and should be equally rewarding, because everyone in the hospital is helping to meet a vital human and community need.


Yet, as this report documents, hospitals face a severe shortage of workers that threatens their ability to meet community needs. It is a long-term shortage that is much broader and more severe than the periodic shortages that have been experienced at various times over the past four decades. This current shortage reflects growing demand, shifting demographics, a change in career expectations and attitudes about work, and worker dissatisfaction within health care.

If the shortage is not solved, it is certain to result in a major national health care crisis.

While society has significant responsibility for dealing with this crisis, this report—IN OUR HANDS—recommends bold, innovative changes that hospitals and their leaders must make in order to avert limitations in necessary health care services now and in the future. The report also contains recommendations for others, such as government, which are critical to support the actions of hospital leaders.

Available for download in .pdf

Full report (2 MB)
Part 1 (Introduction - Chapter 3 / 1.75 MB)
Part 2 (Chapter 4 - Workforce Strategy Map / 630 KB)


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