Understanding Generational Diversity in Acute Care Facilities to Enhance Nurse Retention

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Janice A. Martincavage, MSN, RN
Patient Services, Bethesda Memorial Hospital, 2815 S. Seacrest Blvd, Boynton Beach,Florida 33435, BOYNTON BEACH, FL, USA


Never before in the history of nursing has there been a workforce of three generational cohorts spanning over seventy years.  There is a lack of understanding regarding their diverse behaviors, beliefs and attitudes which were developed in the era of history in which they were raised. Miscommunication, negative perceptions and attitudes arise on the nursing units causing conflict between the generational cohorts. This conflict causes lateral violence, gossip, and job dissatisfaction resulting in high nursing turnover rates.


The purpose of my project is to explain general traits and characteristics between the Baby Boomer, Generation X and Millennial generations to nurse leaders in order to reduce conflict and enhance the nurse retention rates on the nursing units.



Review of thirty scholarly peer reviewed articles acknowledged conflict between these generational cohorts at the workplace through quantitative and qualitative studies.  After critical analysis and synthesis, best practice recommended a quality improvement measure to empower nurse leaders to recognize, lead and mentor these generational cohorts on the nursing units.


Soft skill sets were implemented consisting of communication, attitude, teamwork, networking, critical thinking and professional modules.  These skill sets combine the differences and strengths between the generational cohorts which when melded together create a strong bond of cohesiveness among these cohorts.  The expected outcome (over time) is a respectful, collaborative, positive workplace environment which will enhance nurse retention.


Understanding generational diversity is an ongoing research practice since society is living longer and working longer in the workplace. As life expectancy of the general population is on the increase, there is a growing number of people who will need quality healthcare now and in the future.  Chronic diseases and age specific illnesses will send people to acute care hospitals where it is expected that there will be competent nursing staff to care for these patients on a 24/7 basis. Nurses are the primary care givers in these environments.  A shortage of staff nurses could be devastating to the patient population and their communities.