Triumphs and Trials of Millennial Nurses

Our blogger discusses the facts and myths about her generation

There are many different views on the characteristics that define the millennial generation. A millennial is typically defined as someone who is born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s. Characteristics used to define this generation are split between positive and negative viewpoints.

Positives: achievement-oriented, confident, ambitious, nurtured, challengers, tech savvy

Negatives: pampered, high expectations, lazy, indecisive

Of course, we are all very different, but sometimes other generations will characterize all of us based on how they have seen a few of us behave.

Since starting at my place of employment, I have seen upper management and human resources gear benefits towards the younger generation of workers. For example, vacation scheduling used to always go by seniority—the people with the longest tenure got whatever vacation time they wanted, while the new employees were stuck with what was left or what no one else wanted.

For the older generation of employees, this was the norm. But millennials are not afraid to speak up or challenge old habits. Thus, at my place of employment, vacation still works by seniority— but each worker can only choose one week until every person gets one of their top three choices. This allowed for newer employees to have a sense of importance and appreciation.

As you might expect, the older generation of employees were very angry with this decision. One even stated, “We shouldn’t have to cater the young people who will probably just leave anyway”. But imagine always feeling like you didn’t matter, and as if nothing you did would matter until you worked somewhere for years and years. For a lot of us millennials, gaining a sense of appreciation from bosses and the higher ups made us eager to do a better job.

Millennials are very tech savvy and good with technology for the most part. We grew up with the internet and cell phones. When we joined the workforce, direct deposit was the norm. There have been plenty of technology changes in nursing, and being part of this generation is a huge advantage. Previously, all charting and orders were done on paper; now I would probably say at least 90 percent is electronic. It is the way of healthcare currently.

Therefore, a number of millennials actually end up teaching and educating older generations on how to use the new charting systems or new time clocks. Millennials typically do well with change, a huge advantage in a constantly changing career like nursing.

As for our bosses, they are trying harder and harder, it seems, to become friends with their younger employees. Many millennials have mixed views on this. Some love it, while others would prefer to keep the relationship professional. When starting your nursing career, remember your boss is your boss and not necessarily your friend.

Finally, keep in mind the perspective of more experienced generations. They will be a huge help to you as your begin your career because they have a wealth of knowledge in the ways of nursing.

Being a millennial has its benefits and negatives. We are not defined by our generational characteristics, but instead by the work and effort we put into our careers and our patients.

What are some instances that you felt you were defined by your generation? What characteristics would you use to describe millennials?

About The Author

Each year more than 350,000 professionals advance their career with Elite Learning.