Age is only a number: All generations of nurses have plenty to contribute

With multiple generations in the nursing workforce, unique opportunities exist for growth, learning and development.

Millennials, baby boomers, Gen Xers and the latest up and coming generation — Generation Z — all are part of the modern nursing workforce. Discover more about how these generations of nurses are transforming healthcare in their own ways in the digital edition “Generations of Nurses Can Thrive Together,” by

“Millennials grew up in the wake of digital technology, which resulted in a faster-paced, more convenient and less-safe world,” said Scott S. Christensen, DNP, MBA, APRN, ACNP-BC, clinical operations director at the University of Utah Health, in an article in the digital edition. “Through this environment, protective parents provided structure, mentorship and constant feedback. The end result is a generation defined by their optimism, social connections and technology proficiency.”

In the article, writer Lisette Hilton also explores the education levels of millennials. She writes that more than half of millennials already have earned their BSNs.

“Higher nursing education levels also tend to result in increased nurses’ salaries,” Hilton writes, citing the Salary Survey. “Our survey found the total average salary for associate degree nurses was $66,092, while BSN-prepared nurses earned an average salary of $73,995. Master’s-prepared nurses earned an average salary of $90,288, but salary averages dipped for DNPs at $84,410 and EdDs at $61,700.”

Readers also can learn about a new generation entering the nursing workforce — Generation Z. Born between 1996 and 2015, the group, according to the article, is said to have grown up with “unsettlement and insecurity.” This type of upbringing made security, comfort and familiar activities and environments of paramount importance to them — a premise explored by William Strauss and Neil Howe’s generational theory.

“Having witnessed their own Gen X parents’ losses during the Great Recession, they are more mindful of financial issues and future careers and are concerned about acquiring debt right into early adulthood,” the article states.

Xers and boomers like direct communication and paths

Sandwiched in between millennials and baby boomers is Generation X, who also make up a good chunk of the nursing workforce. Born between 1965 and 1980, Gen Xers comprise nearly one-fifth of the population, according to our recent webinar “How to Thrive Communicating Across Generations.” Read more in the guide’s in-depth look at these former latchkey kids in “Generation X nurses prefer direct communication.”

The guide also examines baby boomers’ role in the nursing workforce and what matters to them professionally in “Baby boomers’ sense of duty is solid trait for nurses.”

“As they were developing their careers, there was an expected route and timeline they would follow for advancement,” said Linda S. Edelman, PhD, RN, associate professor and chair of the Health Systems and Community Based Care Division, University of Utah College of Nursing, in the article. “Younger generations don’t adhere to this philosophy as much and may become frustrated when baby boomer supervisors or coworkers tell them that they need to spend time gaining experience before advancing to a new role.”

Other topics in the guide include effective conflict resolution, succession planning for professional organizations and workplace communication.

Check out “Generations of Nurses Can Thrive Together,” and start getting to know your fellow nurses today!

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