Literature Review On Cross Generational Issues In Nursing Workplace
In the current world, nursing workforce is comprised of staff and nursing leaders from a different generation groups. There are four nursing generation workforce with different attitudes, beliefs and work habits. As a result of differences in ideologies between the generations, nursing leaders have found it challenging to deal with the situation at hand. Nursing leaders should acknowledge the differences between generation workforces and view the weaknesses as potential strength. Disparities between the generation workforces need to be evaluated for the purpose of formulating a possible solution. Nursing leaders are expected to strengthen their skills in solving the differences between generations. It is a method of improving leadership style, productivity, and the quality of services offered by the nursing leaders. In this paper, there will be an overview of various generation cohorts, their weakness and strengths. The paper will also try to find ways in which nursing leaders can solve issues related to communication between the nursing generation workforces (Durkin, 2011).
Generation cohorts in the nursing workforce have presented various challenges and problems related to different behaviors, beliefs, experiences, and work habits. Over the years, nursing leaders have tried to harmonize these differences in the workplace in order to improve quality and performance in the healthcare facilities. The presence of four generations in the nursing workforce puts a major challenge to the nursing leaders. According to research studies, harmonizing the four generation workforces in working places offers a great challenge. In workplaces, nursing leaders should expect the nursing workforce to be composed of different generations. The trend of having a different generation workforce in the workplace is inevitable as it is a common even in other contemporary workplaces. This is because the old nurses will still find their way in the workforce in order to deal with the issue of nurse shortages in health care facilities (Christine & Zust, 2005).
Nursing Generation Cohorts
The different nursing generation cohorts differ in social, political, and economic aspect. According to researchers, there has been a clear cut of ideologies between each nursing generation. The nursing generation cohorts have been classified into four groups each with a profile based on identifying characteristics. Some of the identifying characteristics include age, location, significant historical events, and share birth years. Therefore, disparities in the shared events bring about different generations ascribed with their own unique features. There are four nursing generation cohorts. They include the Traditionalist generation, the Baby boom generation, Generation X, and Generation Y (Millennial). This paper will analyze differences in the generation cohorts, challenges, and possible solutions to various work issues (Larson, 2008).
Background and Description
The veterans are also known as the traditionalists, the silent generation, or the builders. They were born between 1925 and 1945. Their names, clearly, illustrate the shared events within the generation. The veterans were born and raised during times of the World War II. According to various researchers and writers, the traditionalists have values such as dedicated, patient, respectful, heroic, and adhere to the rules. As a result of the hard experience, the traditionalists carry a sense of patriotism and pride. The veteran generation has begun the process of retiring from the workforce. Many nurses in the veteran generation still work at different levels of nursing leadership positions in organizations (Mercier, 2012).
The Baby Boomers
The boomers were born between the age of 1946 and 1964. The boomers form the largest group of generation in the nursing workforce. They have been attributed with the largest number of all generations and have maintained many nursing leadership positions. The boomers grew during the post-war period and were persuaded to put their individualism into consideration. They have some strong values and objective towards achieving success. The boomers measure success materially and are renowned for getting anything they want. As a result of their huge numbers in the nursing workforce, the boomers have been highly competitive. According to research, baby boomers nurses began retiring in the year 2010 (Weston, 2006).
Generation X forms the smallest in numbers of the entire four nursing generation cohorts. They were born between the years 1963 and 1980. The generation X workforce is growing and penetrating into nursing leadership and management positions. They are also referred to as the post boomers. The post-boomers are a result of many divorces at their early ages. As a result, they became self-reliant being children of workaholic parents. As a result of their harsh experience of their parents facing layoffs, this generation workforce is distrustful, and lack loyalty in business organizations. During 1990’s, nursing profession had significant challenges in attracting generation X individuals. As a result, much of this generation cohorts have entered nursing professions as a second career (Weston, 2001).
The Millennial Generation
The Millennial generation was born between the age of 1980 and 2000. They are stated to be penetrating the nursing workplaces in a huge number as a full time and as part time employees. The number of the Millennial Generation workforce competes with the Baby boomers in the nursing workplace. In the recent years, there has been an increase in the number of Millennial Generation members applying to nursing programs. Although the Millennial Generation members are the smallest cohort of the nursing workforce, their numbers are significantly growing (Lipscomb, 2010).
Research Findings on Nursing Leadership
According to a literature review, there are a lot of information regarding generation cohorts and their respective values. However, there is less information regarding nursing workforce in the recent years and how to harmonize different nursing cohorts in their workplace. Nurse leaders play an important part in creating a peaceful environment between different nursing cohorts. It is crucial for the nurse leaders to participate in practices that enable the nursing workforce to work effectively with minimal conflicts. According to research findings, understanding the differences and issues between nursing generation cohorts will enable nursing leaders improve on their nursing skills and performance. Research findings are usually helpful in understanding the work preferences and differences between the veterans, baby boomers, Generation X, and Millennial generation nurses (Thrall, 2005).
According to research findings, the younger nursing generation cohort wants some behavioral characteristics from their nursing leaders. For instance, the veteran and baby boomers generation cohorts work under strict guidelines and principles in achieving organizational goals and objectives. They like to work under formal conditions and terms. By contrast, the younger generation wants the following characteristics from their nursing leaders; ability to motivate others, good communication skills, honesty, and an approachable demeanor. According to Sharon Jordan-Evans, nurses under the age of 41 years were more flexible in their workplace compared to baby boomers. By contrast, baby boomers are work driven and thus work to please others. Some of the boomers have proceeded into their second careers while acquiring higher management positions in organizations. The baby boomers generation workforce is self-centered, sensitive to the responses and is judgmental of others (LeVasseur, 2009).
Nurse leaders are required to form regular assessments on various cross generational issues in nursing organizations. For instance, cross generation examination of the nursing workforce in terms of the age profile, generation mix, and the cross generation issues facing each and every nursing generation cohort. Employees are expected to be treated fairly in a working environment despite their group generation. Nurse leaders are supposed to instill a sense of expectations and organizational goals to the employees. Different generational cohorts are usually involved in the nursing workforce. It is important for the nurse leaders to involve every generation cohort member in the activities of the nursing workplace. For instance, nursing organizations undertake coaching and motivation, communication, and resolution of conflicts. Through the involvement of various generation cohorts in these activities, harmonization of different ideologies could be achieved (Sherman, 2006).
Coaching and Motivating
Coaching and training styles vary from one generation to the other. According to research studies, veteran nurses are usually comfortable with the traditional methods of coaching. They follow a formal one on one training style in improving their skills and efficiency in the workplace. The veteran nurses acknowledge seniority and have experience in coaching. They can also be attributed with items such as handwritten notes, pictures with the chief executive officer, and plaques (Sherman, 2006).
Baby boomer nurses are usually associated with participation in groups and enjoy collegiality. They like being coached in a group situation and value long-learning in improving their skills and performance. Baby boomer nurses like to be noticed by the public for good performance in any job. Learning and training styles vary from generation cohort to the other. Various methods of learning differ from generations. The younger generation cohorts learn from both hard and soft skills in the work. By contrast, most of the veterans and boomers opt soft learning skills at work while hard skills in class instructions (Putre, 2013).
Millennial generation nurses anticipate a lot of training and coaching more than any other nursing generation workforce. This generation cohort is optimistic, hopeful, goal oriented, and extensive orientation. Internships and formal coaching are a common aspect with his generation cohort. Nursing organizations should ensure that the millennial generation cohorts’ needs are met in order to avoid massive turnovers (Mercier, 2012).
According to some research study, the attitude of the generations towards workplace may be the root of nursing cross-generational conflicts. For instance, Generation X has been nicknamed ‘slacker’ since they are not committed to their work. By contrast, boomers are usually ascribed with the workaholic quality while the veterans are the most hardworking nursing generation cohort ever. Therefore, according to a cross sectional study, the younger generation tends to work less hard relative to the older generations. Apart from the generation factor, other factors like education levels, marital status, and income level affect work ethics (Larson, 2008).
The communication between generation cohorts is one of the major issues in disparities between nursing generation conflicts. Nursing leaders should consider the essence of communication among generation cohorts in order to close the generational gap. In nursing organizations, communication between nurses is of great importance. Understanding different generation communication enables mitigate conflict issues. The veteran nurses face to face, written, and formal communication more effective than communication using technology. Baby boomer nurses are comfortable with communication that is direct, open, and less formal. They prefer a face to face type of communication though they would still use the telephone. Generation X members prefer communication, which involves technology. This nursing generation cohort has television sets as part of their routine activity. They do not like long discussion meetings since they become bored. The millennial generation cohort is comfortable with messaging through mobile phones. This generation cohort prefers urgent answers and feedback. They prefer team work and use email and chat rooms for communication (Durkin, 2011).
Differences in attitude, beliefs, and values within generation cohorts create a great conflict between the members of different generations in the nursing workplace. There are two major sources of conflict within the nursing organization. They include work ethics and the use of modern technology. Frustrations usually occur in the nursing environments especially when there are arguments in the mode of communication to use. The nurse leaders are obliged to settle down conflicts arising in the nursing workplace in order to, effectively, achieve organizational goals and objectives. Different generations have their strengths and weaknesses. As a result, nurse leaders should be quick to acknowledge the strengths of each generation cohort in order to bring out a better understanding tin the nursing workplace.
The differences between nurses’ generation cohorts can be harmonized in order to have a peaceful workplace with no conflicts. Organizational structures and regulations should be reviewed in order to minimize generation conflicts in the nursing workplace. As a result of different ideologies of people of various generations, conflicts usually arise in the workplace. The young nurse generations usually prefer working for fewer hours and for high wages. The boomers and veterans are workaholic and hardworking, respectively. Therefore, a resolution to harmonize generations’ ideologies and attitudes towards their employers and workplace should help mitigate cross-generational issues within the nursing organization (Nelsey, 2011).
Application of Change Theory
In nursing organization, change is inevitable if the cross-generation conflicts are to be settled. For instance, the nurse leaders can review the methods of communication between generation cohorts. In the recent years, the mode of communication between the nurses has drastically changed. Improved technology in working places has changed the way communication is carried out. The use of cellular phones through chat rooms and emails has encouraged informal communication within nursing organizations. The nurse leaders can introduce a more official means of communication among nurses within the organization as compared to the current. Therefore, introduction of formal means of communication within nursing organization can help reduce cross-generational conflicts (Crupi, 2009).
The nurse leaders should seek to mitigate the disparities in the generation cohort in order to allow harmonization of various values. It is important for nursing leaders under multi-generational workforce to implement strategies which will ensure conflict resolution among the generations. Therefore, the nurse leaders should seek to acknowledge various differences in beliefs and values between generation cohorts in order to prevent conflicts. Communication strategies and coaching styles should be improved to fit the required standards for each generational cohort. As a result, nursing leaders will grow leadership skills in the workplace thus adding a quality and effective performance in the nursing organization.