Generational Engagement and the road to
Generation Y, more commonly referred to as Millennials, are those people born between 1980 and 1994. They are currently between 26-40 years old. What does that have to do with nursing, or more specifically, creating a neuro-nurturing NICU? Everything!
Millennials and the younger, Zennials, born after 1994, make up the fastest-growing portion of the nursing workforce today.
While the younger generation of nurses is increasing in size, the turnover rate in this population is high, posing a challenge to formal and informal nursing leaders who need an engaged and cohesive team to provide the highest level of patient care.
In the United States, up to 50% of new nurses will change clinical areas or will leave the nursing profession entirely during the first 12–24 months of practice” (Waltz, Munoz, Weber, & Rodriguez, 2020).
Teamwork makes the dream work
Changing NICU practice takes teamwork. In order to continue to evaluate current practices, stay abreast of the latest evidence-based practice changes, and carry out ongoing quality improvement and staff education, NICU leadership must engage staff across all the different generations.
So, where can we begin?
In their 2020 article, “Exploring job satisfaction and workplace engagement in millennial nurses,” researchers and nurse leaders from the University of the Incarnate Word and Northeast Methodist Hospital, in San Antonio, Texas, sought to explore the driving forces behind the millennial nurse. The authors identified five key themes in their research, and we’ve highlighted a few below:
#1 – Professional Relationships
While professional relationships with coworkers emerged as the most important contributor to job satisfaction for the millennial nurse, the authors did identify strains on cross-generational relationships. Millennial nurses expressed that they don’t always feel respected by more seasoned nurses and that they feel nurses from the Baby Boomer generation, age 56+, “have a ‘resistant attitude’ towards the younger nurses.”
#2 – Rewards
Another common theme is that Millennial nurses appreciate and crave praise and attention for a job well done from patients, peers, and particularly their nursing leadership. Recognition such as hand-written thank you cards, and peer praise during staff huddles are an important part of job satisfaction at work.
#3 – Professional Development
While ongoing professional development was an important factor for Millennial nurses, they did identify barriers including the financial burden of large student debt load, and time constraints of staffing and caring for their own young families. They expressed an appreciation for nursing leadership who helped facilitate them in joining committees and providing educational opportunities at work.
To learn more ways to engage Millenials in your NICU – click here to read the full article.
What’s certain is that this growing segment of the nursing workforce is the future of the NICU. It is crucial that leadership recognize the unique needs of the Millennial nurse to ensure high engagement and retention for unit success.
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