Debunking 5 Myths About Millennial Nurses

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It seems that the latest generation of Millennial Nurses has caused quite an uproar. Let's look at myths surrounding millennial nurses.

Millennial nurses have become the bane of healthcare leadership over the past several years. No matter what generation you are a part of, it’s likely you’ve participated in or been the topic of discussion around those pesky and entitled Millennial nurses.

It seems that the latest generation of new nurses has caused quite and uproar in an environment that was already filled with burnout and bullying.

Myths About Millennial Nurses

Millennial Nurses Job Hop and Aren’t Loyal

Myth: What’s the point of investing time, money, and attention into a group of nurses that will leave to increase their paycheck? They aren’t loyal to their employers so why should employers bother?

Reality: The truth is millennial nurses leave their jobs at about the same rate as Gen Xers. According to Pew Research, “Millennial workers, those ages 18 to 35, are just as likely to stick with their employers as their older counterparts in Generation X.” In fact, 22% of millennials have 5 years of tenure at their current employer as opposed 21.8% Gen Xers.

Millennial Nurses Don’t Have the Same Work Ethic as Previous Generations

Myth: Millennial nurses just can’t be counted on to deliver the level of care and excellence we’ve seen in previous generations of nurses. They are too absorbed in smartphones, social media, and living free-range lives to invest themselves in their jobs. They can’t be counted on and merely work just to get by.

Reality: If this were true, hospitals everywhere would be shutting down left and right. As of 2015, millennials represent over 50% of the workforce in the U.S., and magically hospitals are able to keep the doors open. In fact, I haven’t heard of a single hospital that has had to close up shop and cited millennial nurses as the primary cause of their demise.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Hospitals have had to erect safe spaces to accommodate for the fragile state of the Millennial Nurses” url=”https://wp.me/p1mMzJ-3Bt”]

Millennial Nurses Need to Be Coddled

Myth: Hospitals have had to erect safe spaces to accommodate for the fragile state of this new breed of nurses. These nurses require too much attention and take time away from other tasks for leaders. Managers and upper-level leadership have hospitals to run and millennial nurses need to learn the standard that no news is good news.

Reality: Millennial nurses do want frequent feedback and engagement from their leaders, but mostly they don’t want to be blindsided. According to Fast Company, “Nearly 85% of millennials in the TriNet survey said they’d feel more confident if they could have more frequent conversations with their managers.” Millennial nurses want feedback 50% more often than other generations, but it’s because they want to ensure they are doing good work. They aren’t satisfied with the status quo. They seek transparent and authentic managers and leadership they can emulate to be successful. They need your honesty and your guidance. They want to grow, develop, and be better nurses.

Millennial Nurses Only Work to Fund Their Obsessions

Myth: Millennial nurses are only at work to fun their wanderlust, obsession with high-end electronics, and an overwhelming infatuation with over-price brunches. Work is just a job and as long as they can afford pumpkin spice lattes, they are good to go.

Reality: Millennial nurses choose companies to work for based upon their personal missions and goals. They seek organizations where they can make the biggest difference with their chosen passion. In fact, according to Deloitte, “77% of Millennial’s said part of the reason they chose to work where they do is because of the company’s sense of purpose.” It is true that millennial nurses want work/life balance (who doesn’t?). However, millennial nurses are also forced to deal with many scenarios in this challenging economy including stagnating salaries, rising cost of living, increasing workload, and often having to relocate to gain entry into the field. If you couple that with their crippling student loan debt, often causing them to delay life milestones like marriage and home ownership, it should become more clear why millennial nurses often escape into their hobbies and interests. It’s a coping mechanism. Bosses, unfortunately, just don’t get it. 47% of managers and leaders have a spouse that does not work outside of the home, leaving them better equipped to spend more time at work. 80% of millennial couples both work full time. So there’s a huge empathy gap as younger workers often do have more responsibility in managing the home than their leadership.

Millennial Nurses Are Constantly After More Money

Myth: Millennial nurses are just never satisfied. They are constantly asking about their next promotion and what they have to do to ensure they get it. They are defensive during annual reviews and are only concerned with ensuring they achieve the highest pay increase.

Reality: Millennial nurses are more concerned with growth and development and an exciting job than their salary. According to Intelligence Group, “64% of Millennials said they would rather make $40K at a job they love than $100K at a job they think is boring.” The perceived defensiveness during reviews can often be attributed to a lack of confidence, as millennials would prefer to have more frequent feedback and communication to avoid being surprised and to avoid the potential to be defensive during appraisals.

Embrace the Awesomeness of Millennial Nurses

For too long millennial nurses have been talked about as if they are a plague on the nursing profession. This tech-savvy workforce has more resources and knowledge at their fingertips than any generation before them. They have the tools, the drive, and the willpower to do amazing things. Every generation has their unique characteristics that others may find to be confusing or challenging. Just like different cultures can sometimes cause fear, so do generational differences.

However, millennial nurses come equipped with a drive to commit to organizations who sense of purpose they align with. They want their work to provide value and meaning. They want to make a difference, and they need your feedback, support, and patience to do it.

Resources for Managing Millennial Nurses

Understanding Millennials (Brooks Books Book 1)Understanding Millennials (Brooks Books Book 1)The Millennials: Connecting to America's Largest GenerationThe Millennials: Connecting to America’s Largest GenerationThe Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational ShowdownThe Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational ShowdownMillennials & Management: The Essential Guide to Making it Work at WorkMillennials & Management: The Essential Guide to Making it Work at WorkManaging the Millennials: Discover the Core Competencies for Managing Today's WorkforceManaging the Millennials: Discover the Core Competencies for Managing Today’s WorkforceThe Millennial Manual: The Complete How-To Guide to Manage, Develop, and Engage Millennials at WorkThe Millennial Manual: The Complete How-To Guide to Manage, Develop, and Engage Millennials at Work

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2 thoughts on “Debunking 5 Myths About Millennial Nurses”

  1. After 35 years with my current employer and having worked in various units as a staff RN, I have seen all kinds of personality types. Selfishness is not limited to the younger generations. I am in the middle…the end of the baby boomers, older than GenX, and old enough to be a parent to at least half to the young nurses we have now. Thank goodness we HAVE younger people shoring up our ranks. The acuity of patients is at least twice what it used to be when I started, and yet admins want to continue using outdated modes for staffing ratios.
    I remember having a LOT to learn about “real” nursing when I graduated with my nursing degree. Seems like history keeps repeating itself; older nurses still want to bash the new ones for not being as efficient/knowledgeable/willing to work as a team. In every generation there are those who exhibit drive and ambition while others want to coast.
    I try to be a positive influence to those around me, no matter their age or experience. The nursing profession overall would be much better off if we all gave each other encouragement instead of sniping and snarky remarks. Thanks for a positive article, Brittney!

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