Conflict between baby boomers & Gen X'rs? - page 2

In the current issue (January, 2002) of the AJN there is an editorial about "Generational Tensions Among Nurses." The authors (Dr. Santos and Ms. Cox) briefly report their study which looked at the... Read More

  1. by   nurs4kids
    Originally posted by -jt
    [BThats why new nurses today dont have it so rough.[/B]
    say what, jt?? "not so rough" is NOT what I keep hearing on this bb. Is it just rough for the boomers now, not the Xers? <confused>


    I guess I'm an early Xer (1967), although I've never thought of myself as a boomer or an Xer. I also don't see the roles of nursing as this article describes. Is it just different where I work? On my shift, we have two boomers, the rest xers. One boomer is the Lead Nurse and a constant issue of late is her lack of concern over staffing. She is the ONLY nurse who could care less what about ratio's. Her opinion, "I've done my time." Hello? Aren't you STILL employed and being paid just like everyone else, just more?? The other boomer is old to the profession, new to pediatrics. I won't go into my opinion on her.

    Now, I'm constantly seeing blame of the shape of nursing placed on nurses. "Nurses will not stand up for themselves, etc." Now, people are agreeing with this article? Nowhere, in nursing school or when I accepted a job as a nurse, did I sign an agreement that I would assume responsibility for management flaws. Why on earth should I accept the responsibility for working OT, when management doesn't care about MY needs? IF staffing needs were met by management; IF management would see that nurses have what they deserve, then there would be NO staffing issues. There are plenty of people out there who want to help the sick; there's just a shortage of those who want to sacrifice themselves in the process. I didn't marry my job, I married my husband. I didn't set out to form a family with my job... I have no intentions of spending more time at my job than I do with my family. Are the CEO's and nursing directors coming in on THEIR day off to help with staffing shortages?

    Perhaps gen X is just what nursing needs. Hopefully the lackadaisical attitude we are described of having is JUST what nursing needs to FORCE the hands of the decision makers. The alternative for damn sure hasn't worked.

    yep, I am an xer..and proud of it.

    "This personal sense of devaluation is poisonous to a workforce that must remain strong. "
    According to Webster: Devaluation-to lay waste; ravage; destroy. To overwhelm.
    Now which is a PERSONAL sense of devaluation?? To be forced by management to work on your day off, or to stand firm and do what YOU choose by FORCING management to become active?

    I just don't see it...
  2. by   Q.
    Originally posted by -jt
    <They move around for better hours, better pay.>

    If some hospitals do not offer pensions, and nurses just hop from job to job looking for one that does, they still arent going to offer pensions. Why not stay, demand pensions - and everything else you deserve - and make it happen?


    Pensions aren't reliable anyways. Just because a company offers it now doesn't mean that it will be available when your time is up. Parents of Boomers know this quite well, I'm sure.

    Also, I guess, and maybe this can be attritubed to the nursing problem, but I don't feel the need or desire to take any more active role than I do. I work, provide for myself and my husband, and stay current in nursing news as best I can. But, as Tracy said, it is not my job to tackle management issues. Staffing and no retention incentives are management problems that management has to deal with. Lack of loyality to any organization is something management should deal with. They KNOW what will retain nurses, but they just try to let it run for as long as they possibly can....hell, one could argue that the Boomers who consistently accept this environment by working overtime and days off are part of the apathetic management philosophy....
    Last edit by Susy K on Jan 13, '02
  3. by   grouchy
    I think that blaming job-hopping for the lack of nursing pensions is putting the cart before the horse. In any case, I believe the traditional pension, as well as the traditional long-term employment relationship is dead, in all but a few highly unionized sectors of the economy. The switch from defined benefit, or traditional pensions, to defined contribution (401k/403b accounts) that place the risk of not accumulating adequate savings for retirement on employees rather than employers, has its roots in the 1970's when many for-profit companies in all sectors of the economy were being pounded by high inflation, increased foreign competition, etc. Job-hopping can actually be seen, in economic terms , as a rational response by employees to a changed employment environment. I doubt that we can revive the traditional pension. For-profit companies that institute them will see their stock prices plunge. And, ultimately, that's what it's all about for these companies. Even nonprofits cannot afford to implement them, considering the demographic wave of retiring baby boomers that they would assume responsibility for.

    What I am trying to say is that I believe that perceived changes in values (ie job-hopping, me-first behavior) are actually due to demographic changes. We can, ironically, blame GenX values on the very existence of the baby boomers, and their parents, the WW II generation. The social costs we as a society are currently absorbing for the WWII generation- ie Medicare,Social Security- and will somehow have to assume for the huge number of boomers is putting the squeeze on the X'er's. This can also be seen in the fact that since Social Security was established, the number of elderly living below the poverty line has plunged, while the number of children living below the poverty line has jumped dramatically.

    I was born on the tail end of the baby boom. Personally, I think the X'ers are smart to accumulate as much money as possible before the full social costs of the aging boomer generation hit and increase taxes. (Assuming they are saving and investing a substantial portion of this money). I think we all need to see ourselves as employees and investors now. Changes that hurt us as employees such as the absence of traditional pensions, benefit us as investors.
  4. by   RNKitty
    I've enjoyed this discussion!

    First of all, I'm an Xer and proud of it! I look at my mother and my grandmother, and I can see the difference in how we all view the world based on the time era we were raised. My grandmother is subservient to everyone, has worked like a dog, and can't think for herself. My mother even balances her checkbook and pays her bills because she can't manage to do that for herself. My mother obeys her husband and sacrificed (not compromised) most of her life. Now she is depressed and miserable. I think the boomer women were sold a line of bull that they need to be superwomen and have a juggle careers and families. Does my generation have a Me-first attitude? Maybe because we watched our elders put off Life so they could work like dogs.

    This is not to say Xer's are selfish. Many are involved in community soup kitchens, church activities, pro-union activities to improve the work environment, etc. We can be active in our communities since we set boundries between personal and professional life. I don't want to have it all. I am a nurse to support my family, but my family comes first.

    I would walk if I was mandated overtime (except in a natural disaster) because I have a greater loyalty and responsibility to my family than my employer. Since I only work 1-2 days a week, I do not have the energy or desire to become an activist to improve working conditions that other nurses put up with "for the good of the unit". If I don't like the situation, and it doesn't work for me, I won't accept the job. These problems are MANAGEMENT'S problems.

    People use words like "loyalty" and "good work ethic", but they really mean self-sacrifice. Are the older nurses angry because they sacrificed and we are not willing to do so? Don't get me wrong, my favorite mentors are boomers; they also do not allow themselves to be doormats. Let us not let them pit us against each other. So what was the issue again?
  5. by   -jt
    >say what, jt?? "not so rough" is NOT what I keep hearing on this bb. Is it just rough for the boomers now, not the Xers? <confused><

    I wasnt the one who said new nurses dont have it so hard. I think they have it different - it is hard but in a different way. I was repeating what another poster had said. She said the "new nurses dont have it so rough" & I think she meant comparatively speaking - compared to what nurses had to do in the past. Yes it is hard today but I remember being a new nurse, with no orientation to speak of, thrown into a ward full of 16 indigent & prisoner males with just me, my med cart, chart rack & a mop. No safety precautions for me. No help. When I expressed my concern about this, the DON told me to consider it "Baptism by Fire". Whatever that means - to this day I dont know. There was one chair for me in there & when an MD came in to see the pt, he got the chair.... and didnt say a word to me about our pts. We didnt get experience pay, education pay, time or pay to attend seminars, nor did we get tuition reimbursement & we only had 2 weeks vacation. We have those things better now because Boomer nurses did not accept it. They stayed where they were & fought to make those things available. I dont htink its fair to say Boomer nurses to make us sound like we are just a bunch of co-dependent enablers who stay in one place & "just accept" the unacceptable. It is obvious both that old & new nurses have peers who think they are obligated to give their lives to their employer and demand nothing in return.
  6. by   -jt
    <I would walk if I was mandated overtime (except in a natural disaster) because I have a greater loyalty and responsibility to my family than my employer. Since I only work 1-2 days a week, I do not have the energy or desire to become an activist to improve working conditions that other nurses put up with "for the good of the unit". If I don't like the situation, and it doesn't work for me, I won't accept the job. These problems are MANAGEMENT'S problems.......Are the older nurses angry because they sacrificed and we are not willing to do so? Don't get me wrong, my favorite mentors are boomers; they also do not allow themselves to be doormats. Let us not let them pit us against each other. So what was the issue again? >


    The thing that I fail to see (maybe because my 44 y/o eyes dont work so well anymore) is what happens when you walk away from that one? If one employer is mandating overtime, the next employer is doing the same thing. And so is the next one & all of them in your area. So what are you walking away TO??? We're already seeing what happens when we do that. Nurses leave nursing. And a couple of UAPs are hired to take their place. Nobody stops forcing nurses to do overtime because nurses left. Thats not managements problem - thats OUR problem. Job hopping doesnt solve it. Its self-deafeating to not be an activist & improve your own working conditions & just keep looking for that perfect employer. Nothing changes, no improvements are made. People who think that just because a facility is losing nurses it will suddenly make its working conditions wonderful havent been reading the news. That is not what happens, in case anyone hasnt noticed. So we can go from facility to facility & will just find the same abuses until we stop running, become pro-active, & start fighting back. It has nothing to dowith loyalty to anyone but oneself. Older nurses are not angry because they may have "sacrificed" - I certainly didnt sacrifice anything. I have not seen the majority of nurses of my generation being doormats either (although there are some nurses who are of all ages in this "helping" profession.) Older nurses are angry because they see new nurses coming in saying the same thing you just did: I do not have the energy or desire to become an activist to improve working conditions.
    That doesnt bode well for the profession and certainly could be the death of all that we Boomers have already achieved for nurses.

    The issue was that an article inferred that older nurses are burnt out, codependent, enablers who complain too much and its all our fault that young people arent coming into the nursing profession.
  7. by   nurs4kids
    Originally posted by -jt
    We didnt get experience pay, education pay, time or pay to attend seminars, nor did we get tuition reimbursement & we only had 2 weeks vacation. We have those things better now because Boomer nurses did not accept it.
    Am I the only one that STILL doesn't have all these things? Jt, the argument here has become that IF we leave for better conditions, nothing improves. I, nor do I think the majority of nurses, get education pay, time OR pay to attend seminars..and most STILL only have 2 weeks vacation. I do get tuition reimbursement that will pay for about 50% of a years worth of education. I think your argument should be what you and the nurses in your are has managed to gain by being activist; not what boomers did for nursing as a whole. I'm not saying boomers didn't do anything positive for nursing, I'm just saying these things you're crediting boomers for still cease to exsist in much of nursing.

    I don't think the argument here should be boomer vs xer. I think it should be management vs nurse. But of course, this article was written by and for management and as long as you can keep the tribe fighting amongst itself, the chief doesn't have to fear being exposed for his shortcomings.
  8. by   nurs4kids
    Originally posted by -jt
    [BThe issue was that an article inferred that older nurses are burnt out, codependent, enablers who complain too much and its all our fault that young people arent coming into the nursing profession. [/B]
    I guess what you get from the article depends on where you fall in it's stereotyping. I read it as saying that generation X is selfish, brats who lack individualization and are responsible for the current staffing issues. However, I've not read the entire article, just Molly's post. If their intent was to divide nursing even further then I guess the authors did a wonderful job of making each side feel they were being blamed by the other when in essence, there actually is no division; we are all nurses and want the same thing...fair and equal compensation.
  9. by   -jt
    <I think your argument should be what you and the nurses in your area has managed to gain by being activist;>


    Ok Ill grant you that. But isnt it all interconnected? We have those things here (including 5 weeks vacation) because we boomers did not go hopping from one job to another looking for the one employer that would offer it to us. We stayed & made the employer we had provide it. Once we did that in one place, we were able to do it in all places & the improvements became the standard. Where nurses are not activists, nothing gets improved. Adminstrators arent going to just do it on their own. So how does just leaving and going from job to job help us to raise the standard & improve our own situation? Im not arguing. Im really asking. I dont understand the approach.

    Some nurses have said that Boomers just accepted poor conditions. Maybe I should have said in cities like mine where Boomers were and are a driving activist force, we most certainly did not accept that. We changed those condtions & we did that by being activists. In areas where the nurses are going from job to job when conditions are not to their liking, instead of demanding improvements there, do they find anything very much different from one place to another? If nurses in some areas are not all the things you said they still arent getting and they dont like that, does it change if they just move on to another job? Isnt the next employer offering most of the same thing?

    The article was saying that new nurses will just move on to another facility if the one theyre at doesnt give them what they want. I just cant figure out how that helps them when all the places in the area are doing the same thing & treating nurses the same way. It just doesnt make sense to me. It seems like a game of all-around-the-mulberry-bush.

    Maybe the discussion got turned around because some Boomer nurses who have not been the co-dependents that were described in the article (and most are not and many have actively fought to correct conditions & did so) were offended with the way they were portrayed. And new nurses were offended with the way they were shown to be disinterested.

    I think its very odd that no mention is made in the article of how abusive adminstrative practices are whats keeping recruits from coming into the profession & just blames it all on Boomer nurses bad-mouthing their employers.
  10. by   moonshadeau
    "Well it's the group of people born between 1961 and 1981. It's that simple.


    It seems we have come to be called Xers simply because we represent something negativee to our elders. We may be the one thing that all of the generations who currently precede us have in common. That is--the ability to speak assuredly about our shortcomings. Of course, they overlook the fact theat we are their responsibility, or actually their fault, our generation will be called upon to look after our parents knowing that they failed to look after us. Intergenerational justice failed somewhere along the way and it will be our task to either rectify it or make it worse.

    We are a group of individuals who grew up with no one at home after school. It appears we have little hope for the future. No jobs, no homes, and basically no money are almost expected of us. These bleak prospects, along with the fact that we will be forced to support the largest amount of senior citizens ever, do not provide much hope. Some believe that these blockades will be too much for us to handle and we will for the most part fail at life, but many see our individualism and resourcefulness that have been built up through our childhoods as our saviors. We will soon discover who is right and who is wrong."

    Being 23 I represent the tail end of the gen x'ers. I read the article this weekend and was appalled at the general peg-holing that the writers of the articles did to this generation. I felt that it was basically saying that we are money hungry and lazy. Hello!!!! Most nurses aren't in the business for the money. I feel that job responsibility has nothing to do with a generational issue, it is about personal job integrity. I work extra hours, I help out those who need the help among my coworkers. I am a member of the ANA. Believe me that I am writing to the editor. "we want all the needed young blood but insult them for having different ideals. " Yes, I believe that the Baby boomers are tired. This is a completely different nursing time than that of when B/b started the profession. And what I want to know is which one of the authors reprensented the "fourty and under "group, because neither looked the part
  11. by   RNKitty
    "We have those things here (including 5 weeks vacation) because we boomers did not go hopping from one job to another looking for the one employer that would offer it to us. We stayed & made the employer we had provide it." JT

    Look at it from my perspective. I am at a stage in my life where I am a mercenary of sorts. My husband was military, then went to school for his BA, now is getting his Master's. Consequently, in the past 5 1/2 years, we have moved considerable distances 4 times. I don't have the time or energy to improve the hospital. I search for the best work situation in whatever city my husband plops me down in, and go from there. Next year we move yet again, and hopefully for the last time. Then, I will again seek out the best hospital in the area. Being per diem, as I hope to be, I'm not sure how much time or energy I wish to devote to improving a bad situation, when there are better situations to be found. We are in a nursing shortage, and by the laws of supply and demand, I have a small advantage there. (However, in another thread, a wise nurse pointed out there is no shortage of good nurses searching for good jobs. I'll keep that in mind.)

    "If their intent was to divide nursing even further then I guess the authors did a wonderful job of making each side feel they were being blamed by the other when in essence, there actually is no division; we are all nurses and want the same thing...fair and equal compensation." nurs4kids

    AMEN to that.

    I think it is a loss to my generation that the boomers will be retiring in the next 10-15 years. With them goes experience and knowledge you don't get from textbooks.

    Not every young person is lazy, or greedy, or self-centered. We are simply at a different stage in life, and we grew up in a different world.

    If we can take this article (as insulting as it is to all ages, and as much as it ignores managements responsibility for the situation) and examine where different people are coming from, we might learn something.

    (And yes, JT, I promise when we finally settle that I will find a good employer, become more aware of and active in the state and national nursing forums, and not be a doormat. I will strive to keep improving the nursing situation. Promise. Swear. For now, I am thinking about the situation and mulling things over in my mind. It's a start. )
  12. by   KatWright
    When I think about the boomers VS the -x-ers, quite often the things that I see are the same for both age groups.

    There are some that call in sick once a month, young & old. There are some that come in 20-30 minutes late, young & old.
    There are some that B****h about everything, young & old.
    There are some that join committees, young & old.
    There are some that are very organized, get their work done & get out on time , young & old.
    There are some that drag out their day to last an extra 2 hours (for OT), young & old.
    There are some that spend time talking to & teaching their patients, young & old.
    There are some that sit around talking to each other for hours, young & old.
    There are some that responsibly look up meds that they don't recognize, young & old.
    There are some that are cocky, think that they know it all, young & old. There are some that ask questions because they want to learn, young & old.
    I think you get my drift. And if you REALLY think about the people that you work with, you will see alot of what I said in BOTH age groups. I am a BOOMER (Class of '73) and I am honored and proud to work with so many gifted X-ERS.

    As far as job hopping, the literature still shows as it did nearly 30 years ago that it is not uncommon for new grads to change jobes every year or 2 for 5 or 6 years until they find what they are looking for. Lots of nurses have done it and they will continue to do it.
    And as far as OT goes, most people do it for the almighty $$$, although occaisionally a good guilt trip can get people to say "oohhh allllll riiightttttt" and come in extra.
    I love the place that I work for (>24 years), however, as I do have a personal retirement plan, I am open for ideas and opportunities.

    Remember that each group has their good and not so good aspects but that is the way of the world.
    Good luck to you all
    Kat

close