'Gen Y nurses lack loyalty'

Second year bachelor of nursing student Mitchell Bruggy.
Second year bachelor of nursing student Mitchell Bruggy. Mairi Manley

WHEN it comes to values and beliefs, Generation Y nurses are not as committed to their organisation as their older peers, according to Southern Cross University's associate professor Yvonne Brunetto.

Research has found the hierarchical style of management which is deeply embedded in the healthcare system is failing, according to Dr Brunetto.

She claims Generation Y nurses are being forced to exit the Australian hospital system as a result.

The results appear in the paper entitled, "Communication, training, wellbeing and commitment across nurse generations," which was published recently in the Nursing Outlook journal and co-authored by Dr Brunetto along with Dr Rod Farr-Wharton from the University of the Sunshine Coast and Dr Kate Shacklock from Griffith University.

The study set out to test if the workplace experience for Generation Y nurses - according to Dr Brunetto as being born between 1980 and 2000 - was different or the same as that of Baby Boomer nurses aged 45 to 65.

"All nurses have the similar beliefs about the nature of nursing and they all understand the importance of certain clinical values to save lives," Dr Brunetto said.

"This is unchanged regardless of a nurse's age," said Dr Brunetto.

"But the generations differ when it comes to values and beliefs.

"Generation Ys are not as committed to their organisation.

"If they are not happy in the workplace they will leave and even change career paths, whereas Baby Boomers are much more likely to stay.

Second year student nurses at SCU Kelly Gouch and Mitchell Bruggy said they disagreed with the findings.

"I think if you look at Generation Y in general there is a lack of commitment and a bit of a 'whatever' mentality," Mr Bruggy said.

"But people choose nursing for a reason.

"It takes compassion and commitment to helping people and most of my generation of prospective nurses are dedicated to their ideals.

"I can understand nurses becoming disillusioned when it comes to pay and work conditions, though.

Ms Gouch said she believes she will be "just as committed" to her work once placed in a nursing position.

"It's more of a calling than a career for me," she said.

"I'm sure I will stick it out because I care about people.

"I think it's unfair to assume we all think the same way.

"It takes a certain kind of person with dedication."

Dr Brunetto said Generation Y nurses had different expectations.

"Generation Y has come into nursing with the belief that they are professionals and therefore their tasks should be clinical in nature," she said.

"They are more achievement and career-orientated.

"Notably they dislike hierarchy and therefore are more likely to experience difficulty relating to superiors and less likely to accept the leadership of the nurse supervisor, particularly when that supervisor is much older and has vastly different life experiences.

"The study found Generation Y nurses were the most computer literate and technology-ready, were more likely to pursue training and development opportunities, and were more prepared to move from one organisation to take advantage of those opportunities.

"By contrast, the reason Baby Boomers are inclined to stay put is because they have better workplace relations with their supervisor, who tends to be of the same age with similar life experiences," Dr Brunetto said

Topics:  generation y nurse southern cross university

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