Generation-Specific Nursing Care for Millennial Patients

Tuesday, 31 October 2017: 9:20 AM

Linda Johanson, EdD, MS(n), RN, CCNE
Department of Nursing, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC, USA

The Millennial Generation (or Generation Y) includes those who were born between the years 1980 and 2000 and now comprises approximately 53.5 million people (Frye, May, 2015), or roughly 27% of the population in the United States. Much has been written regarding characteristic traits of this generation and how those traits shape and influence the learning needs of students of health care professions. Equally, literature can be found regarding how intergenerational dynamics can affect the workplace environment as graduates enter the health care professions. However, not as much has been devoted to a discussion of delivering nursing care tailored for the Millennial Generation patient. This generation of present-day young adults presents particular challenges with respect to their health care. Influences common to this generation have caused not only the emergence of specific needs, but also characteristics that impact their attitudes, values, and beliefs about health care. Awareness of these dynamics will provide nurses with tools for planning and implementing patient-centered care for this special demographic group. The following six categories of considerations will provide guidance for nurses caring for patients of the Millennial Generation.

1. Become acquainted with health-related conditions and issues particular to the Millennial Generation. The current generation of young adults is comparatively more likely to be obese, and engage in several health damaging and risky behaviors such as drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, suicidal behavior, and bullying.

2. Incorporate mental health components into the care plans for Millennials. The current generation of youth is living in a time of unprecedented economic and technological changes. Stress over financial issues, such as student debt and job stability, can contribute to depression, as can a focus on image consciousness resulting from heavy use of social media.

3. Consider technology in the plan of care. Millennials are digital natives who have grown up using computers and the Internet. They have been characterized as being technologically savvy and having a preference for social media networking.

4. Tailor patient teaching. Millennials are well-acquainted with technology, and therefore technological tools such as social media and the Internet could also be useful for patient teaching. However, there are other teaching modalities that will be compelling for Millennial patients as well. This generation is more highly educated, and it is likely they will want to know about their health and be participants in planning and interventions for care. They have been described as being confident, ambitious, and a generation that enjoys challenges.

5. Incorporate cultural sensitivity into the plan of care. The Millennial Generation in the US is the most culturally diverse of any generation to date.

6. Read and contribute to research efforts related to Millennial health. There is a current trend in nursing toward evidence-based care and increasing recognition of the role of nurses in research efforts. There are many applicable and important avenues for research that would contribute to the body of knowledge regarding healthcare for the Millennials.