Skills & Perspectives Millennial Nurses Bring to the Job
Five unique things young nurses bring to the profession
Millennials have grown up with the advantages of having instant, specific information and communication at their fingertips. Raised by the socially conscious Baby Boomers, they’ve also prioritized economic equality, sustainability and simplicity over materialism and personal success. Their unique traits have both frustrated and impressed older generations at times.
America’s Millennial Generation is defined as the individuals born between 1981 and 1997, according to Pew Research Center, and new population estimates show that Millennials now outnumber Baby Boomers as the largest living generation.
While articles often talk about the differences between nursing generations, here we take a look at the unique skills and perspectives Millennials bring to the nursing profession.
1. Preference for social, fun environments
More focused on socialization than individual success, Millennials were trained on more collaborative, team-oriented school projects than their Baby Boomer parents, which prioritized independent work. Because of this, Millennial nurses are comfortable sharing their thoughts with one another, and working together. They also yearn for a fun, social work atmosphere, and there is less of a barrier separating their private lives from their work lives.
Nurses with a fun, social attitude can be great for morale and for boosting the disposition of their patients. Yet, the more “old school” nurses don’t always appreciate putting every detail of their private lives front and center in the workplace, and older patients could be offended by the more collegial approach to their relationship, so young nurses need to exercise some sensitivity.
2. Need for constant stimulation
Blame it on those short-lived Snapchat posts or the constantly evolving updates on their Instagram apps, but Millennials enjoy rapid change (which makes them great travel nurses, adaptable in new locations!). Though some see this need for constant stimulation as a negative, it can be a good attribute for nurses in the high-pressured, frenetic hospital environment. Millennials thrive in challenging, multi-tasking situations, and are easily adaptable to new circumstances.
Bu nursing isn’t always fast-paced and exciting; veteran nurses know that the less glorious tasks such as patient hygiene and documentation are important, as well. Nursing is all-encompassing care, so young nurses must learn to accept the thrilling moments as well as the drudgery.
3. Technical savvy
As electronic medical records (EMRs) have become the new normal in health care, young nurses who grew up on computers and gadgets tend to have an advantage over their older colleagues in their ability to learn new systems and adapt to technology changes. They can in fact use their tech skills to train others and can even choose to become super users during EMR system implementations and other health technology projects. (Contact an American Mobile recruiter about travel RN jobs supporting EMR implementations.)
4. A willingness to speak up
Most Millennials are not shy about saying what they think, and in fact have learned to express their opinions on Facebook and the internet in general. This straightforward approach can be a great quality for nurses, as they must be willing to openly share their valid concerns about a patient’s progress. They must also be able to relay important information in a clear manner to doctors and nurses, as well as patients and their families.
Sometimes Millennials may speak up for more selfish reasons, such as to demand more desirable shifts. While it’s important to express needs and wants, young nurses shouldn’t act like they are entitled to special treatment. Their more experienced colleagues will insist that Millennial nurses pull their weight and pay their dues before winning the most appealing shifts and tasks. Similarly, young travel nurses can’t act like they rule the roost at their assigned medical facility, but they can sometimes negotiate for certain shifts and days off.
5. A desire to change the world for the better
Millennials have a strong sense of wanting to do their part for the greater good, whether it’s recycling, volunteering or just increasing awareness for an important cause. This is a great quality for young travel nurses to have, because this thoughtfulness extends itself to excellent care for patients. This new generation loves seeing that their actions are indeed making a positive difference.
Veteran nurses, who also strive for the best outcomes, may need to offer a dose of reality for younger, more idealistic nurses. They can explain that patients don’t always heed the advice of medical professionals, and, even with the best nursing care, some patients will not survive. More importantly, experienced nurses should be there to help young nurses deal with these harsh realities with proper debriefing and emotional support.
Baby Boomer, Gen Xer and Millennial travel nurses all have the same ultimate goal: to provide optimal care for patients. The way each generation gets there may vary, but working together and incorporating the strengths of all nurses will result in the best outcomes.
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