Do you see a generational gap in nursing?

  1. I don't know if it is just me, or just where I work, but I am seeing a major generational gap between nurses. The ones in their mid 20's just seem to be lacking a work ethic. I am not an old foggie, I am 43. the newer gals just dont get why they cant have day shift, or every holiday off, or why seniority in a union facility counts. They do not understand that it has taken many of us more than 10 years to get full time, or day shift, and that we all have to work holidays. I spent many Christmas at work instead of with my kids. I havent used sick time in 3 years. some of these new ones call in with the weirdest ailments, just to find out they were hung over!! I am not bashing young nurses, or "eating the young". I am just seeing a lack of work ethic with this generation. My friend who is in business sees the same. Did we as parents screw this generation up some how? Or will they eventually grow up? Again, not bashing anyone, just curious....
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    About egglady, LPN

    Joined: May '07; Posts: 341; Likes: 781


  3. by   Asystole RN
    I am about 1,000% positive that your generation complained as much as the current 20 somethings to your preceding generation.

    Every generation has said the same exact thing about the "younger generation" for the past 10,000 years or so.

    Congratulations, you are officially old.
  4. by   canigraduate
    In my experience, it isn't the current batch of 20-somethings. It's ALL 20-somethings, especially those who don't work until after they graduate college. It's not their fault. They are taught by their parents and by society that they are incredibly important and everything they want is right and good.

    It's just a transitional period from childhood to adulthood. As they mature, they will develop better work habits.

    Occasionally, you will find the gem. The 20-something that has been working since she was sixteen, has had to help support her family, and actually knows the benefit of good work habits. These young ones are rare, though, and a treat to come by.
  5. by   BluegrassRN
    OP, repeat after me:

    "You kids get off my lawn!"
    "Back when *I* was your age..."
    "You think your life is tough now? Bah! You don't know what tough means! Wait until..."
    "Oh, my aching knees!"

    Yes, you are officially old. Don't worry about it. I'm there, too. It'll be okay. Just take some ibuprofen and a nice glass of merlot. It'll help make everything better.
  6. by   LACA
    I've been out of nursing school for 5 years, I'm 24....I've been at my current position (elementary school nurse) for a year....I've missed two days of work and they were both because the babysitter called after I had gotten to work to say that my daughter was throwing up and had a fever....

    It's not ALL 20's not always even the 20 can be 30 or 40's a matter of knowing that you have to make sacrifices to get anywhere and knowing that showing up at work and doing what you are supposed to do is important. I've met many a person in their 40s who STILL haven't grasped that concept.

    I have noticed that teenagers lately seem to think the world should cater to them and hand them everything on a silver plated response to that is---get off your spoiled rear end and earn it! I hate it when people think they're "entitled" to something...the only thing they are entitled to is earning it.

    My husband says I'm the "oldest" 24 year old he knows...I don't party, I don't go out to bars and get trashed just for fun....I stay at home with my daughter and my husband and then I come to work to work and get everything done and I go home and spend time with my family...I have plenty of fun, but I also know that you can't have fun without working for it. I don't live to work, I work to live. It's a fine balance and sadly, so many people haven't reached their middle ground yet.

    Am I rambling??? Does this even make sense?? It sounded good in my head LOL!
  7. by   linRdsNay
    As a "20-something" I'm kind of insulted by this, because not ALL "20-somethings" are lazy or spoiled. Nursing is a 2nd career for me, I worked for 4 years after getting my first degree and then decided to go back to school for my BSN. I've worked hard from the beginning to get where I am and now I'm working hard in the unit of my preference.

    Maybe I'm not the norm. Obviously you've all seen a trend in the younger nurses which caused this thread to be written in the first place. I'm just saying to not dismiss all younger nurses. You never know people's stories and where they come from, but its certainly easy to assume.
  8. by   HeartsOpenWide
    Call me the odd man out. I will be 30 in January so I guess I am still in that "20" something category. I got married at 19 and held a job ever since I was 18. I have been told by people in their 40's and 50's that I have excellent work ethics. I have also worked with people in their 40's and 50's that have worth ethics just like the ones you described of all these "20 year olds". I think it depends on the person.

    I currently work nights; I work weekends, and I do not think twice of coming in on my day off when things have hit the fan for my co-workers. I can not even remember the last time I had a hang-over, its been two years since I went on a vacation, and the only time I have called in sick in the last year was last week because I had a migraine and was throwing up.

    In two weeks I am going to a day shift position because 1) there is one available and no one on nights or evening shift wants it 2)because my doctor has threatened to put me on disability for exhaustion because I only get four hours of sleep a day, and that is with Ambien CR and occasionally taking a second out of desperation; and not all four hours at once. I am also going part-time because I can afford it and working 5 nights a week is killing every relationship in my life. Does this make me a bad employee? No. I am just one of those young "20 somethings" that realize that their job is not the most important thing in their entire life. That there is more to it than work. I am still going to be a good employee; I am just not going to let my job take over my life.
    Last edit by HeartsOpenWide on Aug 17, '10
  9. by   Esme12
    Quote from Asystole RN
    I am about 1,000% positive that your generation complained as much as the current 20 somethings to your preceding generation.

    Every generation has said the same exact thing about the "younger generation" for the past 10,000 years or so.

    Congratulations, you are officially old.
    I am old ........and pround of it! I have earned every grey hair (that I cover up) and every wrinkle on my face..........but there does seem to be a disconnect between the generations. A lack of ownership or responsibility that seems missing. Now remember I grew up in the seventies!!!!!!!!!!! SO I know all about the "older generation" complaning about us. I came out of college to make $1.00 over minimun wage as an RN. I did not see daylight until I was "senior" enough to apply for a shift change. For thirty years I have worked Holidays,weekends, birthdays, and summer vacations.

    But, I have respected the more experienced staff my entire career and never gave them disrespect or sarcasm. I have learned more from those with more experienced than I than school could have ever given me!!!!!!!!!! There were 3 poeple who gave me the clinical know how when I graduated nursing school......Louise Gehyhart LPN, Barb Savord RN, and Nancy Clem RN....RIP......So THANKS guys.....I miss you guys to this very day!!!!!!!!!

    By the too shall someday be old! It's a karma thing.....
  10. by   HouTx
    Full disclosure - I am definitely old. Therefore, I have the advantage of greater perspective - having seen multiple generations enter into the workplace. Millennials are really different - but it's not due to their DNA, it's due to the way they were reared. They are the products of an environment characterized by massive 'over parenting' and semi-hysterical over protectiveness (sanitize everything!!). Their school years were hard-wired the concept of social promotions to enforce "everyone is a winner" and drive up self esteem at the expense of authentic self awareness and individual responsibilty.

    From infancy, their parents were expected to be entirely focused on meeting every possible need that could be imagined. They were entertained from utero (Baby Einstein anyone?), pushed into constant socialization (play dates for toddlers??) and provided with continuous feedback to increase their self esteem and feelings of self-worth. As a result, this environment produced a generation with waaaay too much self esteem and too little humility. They not expect gold stars, they need them.

    As a contrast, my kids (Generation X) and their peers were latch key kids. They were expected to function with high levels of independence, face the consequences of their own bad decisions and required to take their share of household chores. As a result, they developed more of a sense of independence and self-reliance... and definitely a more realistic self-image.

    So - I don't think there is anything wrong with 20-somethings. They are the natural end-product of the environment in which they were raised. Unfortunately, today's work place is harsher and more unforgiving than ever, so there's an unprecedented mis-match between their expectations and the reality of today's work place. IMHO, They are faced with more reality shock than any previous generation of new grads.
  11. by   Zookeeper3
    well, i was an "old 20 something when i started, married at 19, three kids when i entered so, the age didn't make a difference... i was already a mature old fart!!!!!

    we have been very lucky, to only have a select few through the years that don't understand what nursing 'expectations' involve. they didn't last. now mind you i'm in an icu... and we're only taking bsn, but i don't think that is the dividing factor.

    because all our new staff goes through a rigorous critical care school, they are well informed about the wait for a day shift slot, if their preceptor is working christmas day, they are too... they learn early.

    but in turn, our scheduling for holidays is fair, seniority only gets preference off with low volume or too many people meeting holiday requirements. everyone does a weekend and monday/friday requirement... so the only bonus is to get to day shift. they know the list, it's clearly posted, everywhere.

    so again, as an old fart, i'm 40... i can honestly say that this isn't an issue for us, but i have seen it with previous employers, and here randomly with a select high maintenence nurse who will never be happy no matter what you do for them.

    so no, not lately, but with a new group turning out soon, there is sure to be at least one in the group... and they never last and can't hang with the big dogs.
  12. by   Mulan
    I saw a news segment about this, probably when the economy was better, and it said that the younger generation expects to be
    told how wonderful they are, and if the current employer doesn't tell them that, they will just quit and move down the street to another one that does tell them how wonderful they are.

    Generational differences at work
  13. by   bonn_bai
    I'm 25, and I'm not at all offended by what the OP said nor do I think she is old. OP you are spot on. My generation and younger has an entitlement problem. I have an illustration. A silly illustration, but hear me out. I had a 28-year-old roommate who refused to wash dishes because it chapped his hands (no dishwasher, had to wash by hand). He refused to clean the bathroom because he couldn't stand the cleaner smell. He refused to mow the lawn because his knees were bad. He refused to vacuum because he, and I quote, didn't "see the need". So in other words, he had lots of excuses that he totally believed were valid - he wasn't just trying to be a punk, he really believed he had a right to not do chores because he had valid reasons not to. Entitlement. That was his problem - he was entitled. Instead of doing what, for example, my parents' or grandparents' generations would have done, sucked it up and dealt with it, he just said, I'm not going this, I'm not doing that. It didn't occur to him that SOMEONE was going to HAVE to do those chores, whether or not they liked it because he refused to do his share.

    That's what my generation is like. It's all about ME. Whatever is BEST for ME. And the reason it is so pervasive is because the rest of us just say, fine, I will do this, I will do that. I will pick up the slack. My mom did that when I was growing up - she would ask me so many times to do my chores and I would constantly say, later, I'll do it later. But I wouldn't. And so she would finally just do them, because they had to be done. I feel bad that I acted that way and it's certainly not my mom's fault, but looking back on it, my mom shouldn't have tolerated that. She should never have done my work - my own fair share of the work. But that's her generation - the work ethic of her generation and my grandparents' generation is just stellar. Whereas the ethic of my generation sucks, because we were, speaking in GENERAL terms, coddled and allowed to be lazy.

    Are we ALL like that? No! Of course not. I am not. I know a few others my age who have good work ethic, but by and large, the people I meet my age fall very short of impressing me with their work ethic. And by and large, the older people I meet tend to have good work ethic, but there are a few who don't. Those of us who do work hard don't need to be offended by the fact that many of our peers don't work hard - you are not them, and the OP never said that every single 20-something has a bad work ethic. She was speaking generally about a trend she had noticed, a valid trend, as evident by the fact that we are even discussing this.
  14. by   cherrybreeze
    I won't agree that all 20-somethings are like this. I'm on the "younger" side, I suppose (I'm 30, although I FEEL like an old fart ), and I work with several younger nurses, most of whom have a great work ethic. It's very refreshing. I see the entitlement attitude in the age group behind these young nurses....those that are preteens and teenagers now.

    For me, I've worked since I was 15, and did babysitting and had a paper route from age 12. In those days, a paper route involved getting up at the crack of dawn EVERY weekend morning! I kept it until I was able to get a part time job, along with spending my summers babysitting full time. I've only ever known working, my dad was STRICT with money and wouldn't even "lend" us kids 50 cents for a soda without charging interest (if he did it at all...his favorite line was, "how do I know when I'm going to be paid back?"....seriously!). I wasn't involved with after school activities, because I had to get to work right after fact, I think I missed out on a lot (but I needed to earn money if I wanted anything!). I had to get my own school loans and work while I was in college, hence having an ADN rather than a BSN (my dad never helped me out with anything, and my mom couldn't afford to). It makes me appreciate where I am, though.

    I don't think it's wrong if kids DON'T have part time jobs in order TO participate in after school activities, but most these days don't learn the value of working and earning what you have, everything is handed to them. This translates in to the kind of "adult" employees they become, they feel they "deserve" so much because they've never learned any differently. My nephew plays football, so this takes up a lot of his afternoon time (he isn't old enough to work at all yet, but it would be hard for him when he does get to that age). However, he knows that if he wants some extra money to buy something, he has to earn it...he'll mow my lawn for 5 or 10 bucks, for example. He knows he has to save those earnings to buy something "big" (his most recent purchase was an iTouch, earned with several chores, birthday money, etc). More kids need to be taught this, I think, in order to become good employees when they join the workforce.