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Nursing against the Odds: How Health Care Cost Cutting, Media Stereotypes, and Medical Hubris Undermine Nurses and Patient Care (The Culture and Politics of Health Care Work) Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0801472923 ISBN-10: 080147292X Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: The Culture and Politics of Health Care Work
  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: ILR Press; 1 edition (March 9, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080147292X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801472923
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.9 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #168,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"One of the most comprehensive and insightful discussions . . . of the complex set of relationships that have developed over the years between doctors and nurses. Nursing against the Odds should be required reading for all nurses, doctors, and nursing and medical students, . . . who will find this book both provocative and enlightening."—New England Journal of Medicine, 29 September 2005



"Exhausted by heavy work, mandatory overtime, and the stress of looking after hospital patients who are sicker, frailer, and in need of ever more high-tech intervention, nurses are leaving the bedside faster than they can be replaced. . . . People who are interested in the health care system or in their own health care should pay attention to the issues Ms. Gordon raises in this book. But nurses especially should read it."—Cornelia Dean, New York Times, 17 May 2005



"Gordon uses anecdotes, research findings, and statistics to develop the list of contributing factors and potential resolutions to the current nursing shortage in more developed countries. She offers a comprehensive, international overview of the key issues."—Ellen Zupa, The Lancet, 27 August 2005



"Gordon's detailed information in the form of interviews, documented research, groundbreaking advances and setbacks, statistics, and opinions about the state of nursing are compelling. . . . You will recognize that there isn't any issue related to nurses and nursing that Gordon hasn't examined. . . . This book isn't just for nurses. It is a comprehensive depiction of how nursing is indeed working against the odds to provide a safe, caring environment for patients. Nurses hold the key to the solutions. Gordon gives us the data and talking points to move to the action stage."—Kay Bensing, Advance for Nurses, 1 August 2005



"Suzanne Gordon, a national award-winning journalist, author, and adjunct professor, is an advocate for all nurses. Gordon isn't a nurse, but believes nursing to be an honorable profession and the backbone of our health care system. . . . This book addresses the main forces that drive nurses out of their workplace; the crucial issues that deprive communities of adequate care of the sick, and the class and status divisions within the profession. But Gordon doesn't focus only on the problems, past and present, facing the nursing profession, but the remedies as well."—Terry Ratner, RN, MFA, Nurseweek, 9 May 2005



"The nurses Gordon describes in multiple anecdotes are almost always clinically astute and are frequently the first, occasionally the only, professionals to observe, interpret, and respond appropriately to signs and symptoms that foretell disaster for the patient. Despite the horror stories of disasters and averted disasters, Gordon fortunately places the issues of nurses and doctors at work in a larger historical and sociological context."—Barbara A. Mark, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, Journal of the American Medical Association, 17 August 2005



"The nursing profession lacks many things, like decent working conditions, recognition, and respect on the job. But, with Suzanne Gordon, it has something other professions can only envy—a skilled reporter, brilliant analyst, and steadfast advocate."—Barbara Ehrenreich

"Nursing is one of the most honorable professions I know. I'm proud of the service I provided during my nursing days. I learned so much about my beliefs, values, and passions as well as learning about others. Anyone who has spent time in a hospital knows that nurses are the true caregivers, the backbone of our health care system. Most doctors spend only a few minutes with their patients while nurses are there around the clock. This is an important book and needs to be required reading in all our medical schools."—Naomi Judd, RN

"The shocking real-life stories Gordon describes in Nursing against the Odds echo what our members experience every day. Readers will not only learn how the nursing profession has suffered over the years due to the many pressures of the nation's evolving health care system-they'll understand exactly what needs to be done to meet the challenges nurses and patients continue to face today. Gordon takes a candid look at the current nursing shortage and paints a vivid picture of how nurses are uniting throughout the profession to raise patient-care standards. This book is a must-read for anyone involved in the healthcare industry."—Andrew Stern, SEIU International President



"Nursing against the Odds is a brilliant and long-overdue assessment of nursing at a time of crisis in health care-what has gone wrong and what can be done to restore this once-esteemed profession to a position of equality with doctors. It should be read by anyone interested in the hierarchy of medicine, and the reasons why the nurse is becoming an endangered species."—Richard Selzer, MD, author of Letters to a Young Doctor



"Suzanne Gordon's book contains a wealth of ideas for legislators and policymakers who want to protect patients from the consequences of managed care and hospital restructuring. Gordon shows that real health care reform requires strong coalitions between nurses and the communities they serve."—U.S. Representative Bernard Sanders (I-VT)



"Suzanne Gordon provides new and important insights into the complexities involved in the current nursing shortage. Nursing against the Odds contains the right mixture of patient/nurse anecdotes and scientific evidence for the conclusions reached and finishes with constructive suggestions for steps that can be taken to correct the situation."—Margaret L. McClure, RN, EdD, FAAN

From the Inside Flap

"The nursing profession lacks many things, like decent working conditions, recognition, and respect on the job. But, with Suzanne Gordon, it has something other professions can only envy-a skilled reporter, brilliant analyst, and steadfast advocate."-Barbara Ehrenreich

"Nursing is one of the most honorable professions I know. I'm proud of the service I provided during my nursing days. I learned so much about my beliefs, values, and passions as well as learning about others. Anyone who has spent time in a hospital knows that nurses are the true caregivers, the backbone of our health care system. Most doctors spend only a few minutes with their patients while nurses are there around the clock. This is an important book and needs to be required reading in all our medical schools."—Naomi Judd, RN --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


More About the Author

Suzanne Gordon is an award-winning journalist and author. She has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic Monthly, the American Prospect, the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, JAMA, The Annals of Internal Medicine, and others. She is the co-editor of the Culture and Politics of Healthcare Work series at Cornell University Press.

Suzanne is the author of seven books including Life Support: Three Nurses on the Front Lines, originally published by Little Brown & Co. It has just been reissued by Cornell University Press with a new forward by Claire Fagin and epilogue by the author.

Suzanne is the co-editor of four books and co-author of From Silence to Voice: What Nurses Know and Must Communicate to the Public. She recently edited When Chicken Soup Isn't Enough: Stories of Nurses Standing Up For Themselves, Their Patients and Their Profession.

Customer Reviews

This a a very good, and easy to read nursing text book.
Vanessa Rowan
Overall, five stars and highly recommended to anyone who wants to learn about the issues with the current American healthcare system.
Lisa L. Philpotts
Suzanne Gordon's "Nursing Against the Odds" hits the nail on the head!
Carol S. Mcclain

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

95 of 97 people found the following review helpful By Michael Newell on September 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Nursing Against the Odds: How Health Care Cost Cutting, Media Stereotypes, and Medical Hubris Undermine Nurses and Patient Care (Suzanne Gordon, ILR/Cornell University Press)is a first rate work of journalism, the beginning of a civilian audit that should have been documented by the profession itself, either in its primary practice venue (hospitals) or by its primary proponents of its own value (academics and the American Nurses Association).

Nursing Against the Odds documents not only the manipulation of nursing by the hospital industry, the medical profession and the media (reinforced by drug and device manufacturer Johnson & Johnson). It documents that nurses themselves think so little of their own contribution that they are unable or afraid to speak up when given the chance.

Nursing Against the Odds also documents the real tragedy of the hospital reengineering movement of the 1990s. This response to the challenge to health providers by the Managed Care companies to show their value in the marketplace was the wrong tactic at the wrong time by the wrong people. Michael Hammer and James Champy made a point to warn (in Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution, 1993) that the chief financial officer should never be tasked to manage the reengineering effort, simply because it was not about cutting costs but raising quality. Since the big accounting firms had the ear of the hospital CFOs this is exactly what happened. So the same folks that brought us Enron messed up hospitals and nursing so thoroughly that neither has yet to recover.

The contribution of Nursing Academia and the American Nurses Association during this cascading iatrogenesis has been less than helpful.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Renee V. Kennedy on February 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I have become a shameless, devoted Suzanne Gordon "follower" since reading her: "From Silence to Voice".

Suzanne has grabbed the bull by the horns, "put the blame on Mame" for the nursing crisis and offers constructive solutions in order to recruit and retain nurses.

"Nursing against the Odds", is a book that management/administration, government, nurses,student, patients and potential patients/the public - should read in order to understand "what" exactly is going on within the healthcare setting and how to make amends.

"Nursing Against the Odds" was extremely hard for me to read...emotionally. It has taken me months of picking up and putting down the book...especially getting through "Part 3" in such chapters as: "Mangling Care" and "Nurses on the Ropes".

I felt such rage reading what I know is to be so true.

Suzanne details the many players who are " not just supporting good [nursing] practice, they are undermining good practice" and notes that "when nurses believe that exit is their only option, they are really expressing their profound sense of defeat."

And exiting with their feet, they are.

It's deafening and deadly.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Lisa A. Jones on June 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
While of benefiit to nurses everywhere in just reminding us we are not alone, this book also reminds us how we may be our own worst enemy in promoting change.

Sadly, those who could benefit most from this book, consumers, CEO's and physicians will probably never read it. In light of the JCAHO white paper on the nursing shortage, why isn't JCAHO also implenting and assessing facilities based on their own strategy recommendations? Without nurses at the bedside, medicine is headed for the rocks!

This is a very powerful book on nursing today.

Lisa Jones RN IBCLC
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By E. DePeace on November 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Whether you work in the health care industry, or are a consumer, "Nursing Against the Odds" is a compelling reading. Gordon's writing wryly covers all aspects of the nursing crisis with a thoroughness rarely found in books of current affairs. Gordon has written several books about the nursing profession, and this latest addition is an excellent culmination of many issues covered in previous books.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Patricia A. Graefe on April 28, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
the book is thorough, concise and right on. As a practicing nurse for the past 43 years and as a critical care nurse since '91, I can relate to her observations.This should be required reading for our Congressmen and all the other persons of influence who regulate our healthcare systems. I truly enjoyed reading this book and plan on passing it on to my co-workers.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Newbie'08 on April 15, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read the book and am going to graduate from a nursing program in June of '08. I was so disenchanted as to what went on in the book as I see it going on when I am in clinicals. I probably wouldn't have picked nursing as my number one profession after being in the hospital setting and it should be a read the first quarter of new nursing students. The book is very factual, as to what I have witnessed thus far. It is a shame it has to be the almighty dollar when it comes to health care. This country is so rich and yet it has so many people without coverage. Most of my fellow students are trying to RUN from bedside nursing as the patient ratio is not safe. Schools need to revamp their programs with more hands on experience. We get little to prepare us for the real world. Any nurse will tell you "You will start learning when you get your first job, that is when the real learning begins." It is no wonder there are at least 300,000 med errors a year. Let us shadow a nurse for at least a quarter to see what it's all about. If I wasn't older, I would pursue another degree.
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