Magazine article American Nurse Today

Moving Up Millennials to Leadership Roles

Magazine article American Nurse Today

Moving Up Millennials to Leadership Roles

Article excerpt

December 2016 Vol. 11 No. 12

Christina, a 29-year-old RN, BSN, recently obtained her MSN in clinical management. She has worked 3 years as a staff nurse and wants to move into a leadership position. Some managers, and even some of her colleagues, feel that because of her age, Christina isn't ready for leadership roles.

This scenario describes many millennial nurses in practice settings today--eager to move up the career ladder and pursuing the advanced education that's needed to do so. But like Christina, they may encounter resistance on their way up.

Better understanding the characteristics of the millennial generation can help managers foster healthier work environments and identify potential candidates for leadership positions. And millennial nurses who understand their own generation's characteristics can more easily transition into leadership roles.

Who are the millennials?

A generation is usually defined roughly by a 20-year birth period. Currently four generations work side by side in nursing: silent generation (born 1928-1945), baby boomers (born 1946-1964), generation X (born 1965-1980), and millennials (born 1981-1997). =

In 2016, millennials surpassed baby boomers as the largest generation. Other names for this generation include generation Y (or Why), echo boomers, boomlets, linked generation, generation next, and nexters. Millennials will have a significant impact on the work environment and have largely influenced the development of social media. Companies such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are led by millennial aged CEOs.

A generation experiences similar life and public events, and tend to have similar characteristics, values, beliefs, and behaviors. A significant event that influenced the millennials is the terrorist attack of 9/11. After this tragedy, millennials realized tomorrow is not a promise; they grew up with terrorism threats and war on the news daily. These public events have influenced them to live life to the fullest and pursue careers that make them happy.

Millennials are eager to impart their ideas, are technologically savvy, and can be quick to leave an organization that does not fit their needs. Millennial nurses don't want to spend 15 years on a unit before any prospects of advancement become available. They saw their parents' generation dedicate a majority of their career to one organization only to later be downsized and laid off. Today's millennial nurse is more transient and seeks positions that offer work life balance and flexibility in schedules.

In the sandbox

Generations working well together promote workplace satisfaction, which ultimately improves patient outcomes. This sounds like the age old "everyone play nice in the sandbox," but it contains like most adages, a nugget of truth. To facilitate collaboration and a healthy work environment, nurses of all generations must understand the diversity in today's workplaces; not just in culture and ethnicity but age as well. Generational differences do not have to result in negativity; positive intergenerational relationships can be formed that benefit all involved.

Here are some tips for successful intergeneration cooperation that managers and staff alike can apply.

Value di?erences. Rather than point out negative characteristics of one another, use these varied personalities to value differences. …

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