Instant Gratification

by jadelpn Guide

8,898 Views | 54 Comments

Instant gratification is the act of wanting something and the expectation is that you are rewarded immediately. In nursing, there are often multiple generations working in the same unit. Seasoned nurses can find wanting instant gratification a character defect. Newer nurses are foriegn to the concept of waiting. To build a successful team, there needs to be a way to marry the two.

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    Instant Gratification

    Indulge me for a moment. Back in the day, nothing was instant but coffee. There was a waiting game for almost every aspect of life. It set people up to have a number of anticipatory feelings. Anticipation is a unusual concept today. Instant answers, instant results, instant communication all lead to question--as a multi-generational team, can nurses really merge the older and younger generations to make things run smoothly?

    There are a number of seasoned nurses who decide not to retire. They are in a place where they want to work, they need to work, they enjoy the work. Seasoned nurses have experiences of having to wait for the means to the end. Therefore, their nursing practice reflects careful and mindful nursing choices. They have to critcally think the whole picture. Their nursing judgement is looking at the pieces to make the whole. What are we going to do now to make this a positive outcome for the future?

    Mid career nurses (meaning the generation "X" among us) are in the middle of their nursing practice as well. Some still have kids at home, have to work, have a desire to work for what they want/have to look to the future, however, are mindful of the present. This group may have some thoughts of instant gratification at times in their nursing practice, however, anticipate the worst and practice for the best based on their interventions. Generation "X" nurses are more acutely aware of delayed gratification. Most of their parents used a reward system for most of their childhoods. They were very used to the term "that's not fair". These nurses have a diversity in their work style. They have had to always adapt, so it comes naturally for most nurses in this age group. Failing means to re-group and re-visit and try again.

    Newer nurses have always had instant gratification. The thought of waiting is not in their mindset, therefore, the level of frustration goes up when their nursing practice doesn't reflect this concept. Well meaning parents had a great deal of flexibility, some on a friendship based parenting style, which can reflect to others as not being respectful. This is rarely the intent, however, can often be a professional faux pas that more seasoned and mid career nurses will take pause to. Failing is not in the thought process at all. So what is helpful in this generation is multiple appropriate interventions to get a positive result.

    Diversity in the workplace can mean many things, and can be related to a multi-generational work ethic. We can learn a great deal from each other and our styles of nursing. If we take the personalization out of the equation, and look to what each generation brings to the nursing practice as a whole can we build a better team. Often, if we look at what everyone brings to the table, reflect on how to deal with the different generations accordingly can we brainstorm ways to increase patient satisfaction, and a good end result for the patients.
    Last edit by Joe V on Jul 13, '13
    Chris81, Helen Crump, Esme12, and 8 others like this.
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  3. About jadelpn

    jadelpn joined Nov '08 - from 'Massachusetts'. Age: 48 jadelpn has '25' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'ER, Med Surg'. Posts: 3,178 Likes: 6,720; Learn more about jadelpn by visiting their allnursesPage

    54 Comments so far...

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    I have zero idea what you are trying to imply with this. If anything, this is reflected more in the patients than the nurses working. You have the 30 something and below crowd that want everything now, in and out in 30 minutes no matter what. Whereas you get GMA and GPA that are willing to wait longer for the results and know what is going on.
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    Not all Generation Y folks need instant gratification. I delay my gratification all the time.

    I was born in 1981, at the very beginning of the Generation Y cohort. However, I currently live by the principle of deferred gratification: delaying the rewards now in exchange for a brighter future.

    Instant gratification folks tend to enter the workforce straight after high school graduation because they want to start earning money now. Deferred gratification folks pursue higher education now to ensure a brighter future in later years through a stimulating career and higher pay. The instant gratification person will run up staggering credit card debt to attain nice things now, whereas the deferred gratification person will save money now to attain nice things in the future.

    My parents are present-oriented Baby Boomers who were born in the 1950s. They were (and still are) very much into instant gratification because they had to have many things now without any thoughts about how the choices would impact their future. For example, my father never even had a retirement account or 401k until a couple of years ago. Now they are ages 57 and 55 without a dime of retirement savings, bleak job prospects, five-figure credit card debt, bills past due, and plenty of misery.
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    (Note: My Computer is not allowing me to make Paragraphs. I've placed Elipsis in the Place of Paragraphs.)
    Quote from jadelpn
    Back in the day, nothing was instant but coffee.
    "Back in the day" must have been over 100 years ago. I have a First Edition copy of Contemplations by Elbert Hubbard printed in 1902 where he rerefers to the Need for Instant or Immediate Gratification as "Americanitis"...Freud put the rationale for Immediate Gratifaction on the Infant's Unmet Needs and an Excessive Expenditure of Psyche Energy...The Point is that The Need for Immediate Gratifaction is older than the Concept's Label itself. Every Generation, way back to Biblical Times, and probably before, has critisized the One before...The need for Immediate Gratifaction has also been traced to a Predisposed Genetic Template, for Example, by William White in his Classic, Born That Way. Applying the Concept that a Response of the Individual Personality to a Stimulus is the Reason fo a Behavior makes more Sense than a Certain Genration's Nuturing or Growth and Development Process. Otherwise, we a Stereotyping an Entire Group or Generation....Interesting Perspective, jadelpn. Thank you for starting a Stimulating Thread and for allowing me to Rebut and Critique of your Premise...Dave
    DizzyLizzyNurse, kmwk, Mully, and 2 others like this.
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    My Computer is Acting Up tonight, so please forgive me for any Misunderstood Posted Portions. I cannot Edit my Previous Post, so I'm attempting to Submit Another One:When presenting a Viewpoint, a Premise is established. Opposing Viewpoints must Argue the Premise of the Original Viewpoint in order to Establish the Opposing Viewpoint's Credence. According to jadelpn's Article, new Nurses requiring Instant Gratification is the Cause of Problems in the Workplace. My Opposing Viewpoint Argues that the Problem is not the Group, but in the Individual Personalities of the Individuals within that Group.jadelpn's Article states that "If we take personalization out of the equation... we build a better team".The Premise of putting Personalities before Principles is a Worthy Premise. Putting Personalities before Principles is Counterproductive to Any Team.The Essence of jadelpn's Article is Sound. The Premise of the Article is Arguable.Thank you, once again, for allowing me to Express my Viewpoint.Dave
    Last edit by Davey Do on Jul 13, '13
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    Love your viewpoint Davey Do as per usual!

    Interestingly, this article stemmed from a lively debate on the frustrations of newer nurses that the "process" is so slow in this day and age of being able to get information instantly. Then seasoned nurses chimed in about "you all know nothing about waiting". It was quite lively, informative, and took place at a staff meeting. And it got me thinking to debate it here would be equally as interesting. And once again, you have not let me down. Love the responses, keep em coming!

    Having a boatload of kids in my life at various stages of life (my own and the wonderful extras I have have been fortunate to raise) are shocked there's not a money tree in the backyard, and that some 60's-70's grownups had to gasp *pay for their OWN education* . That 50's and 60's grownups can even make a nickel scream. (and for those of you who follow me, you know "nothing instant but coffee was a poetic license, as it the preceeding statement).

    My intent was to start a lively discussion. I am not at all suggesting that the instant gratification folks cause any issue in the workplace. It is all parts of a whole that make a team. It is equally as interesting to use the individual strengths of people--an act that in itself can amend individual personalities--to the benefit of the patient.
    Davey Do and herring_RN like this.
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    How horrible and humiliating to be put down during a staff meeting by a comment like "you all know nothing about waiting." Agism really can happen to all age groups. The frustrations of being a new nurse has happened to all new nurses no matter when the career was started, according to my mentors and friends of various ages. I myself know a lot about waiting. Pulling myself out of homelessness and deciding to work part-time instead of full-time in order to obtain an education is one clear example. I am from the generation that you generalized, but I have gasp *paid my own way in life and my four children's way including paying for education. If any one tries to tell me in a professional meeting that I know nothing about waiting, they are going to get a lesson that day. What a judgmental article written to give praise to yourself. Let your work bring you praise.
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    I don't think the OP was trying to be critical or judgmental of anyone. I think he was just pointing out the differences in the generations and how these differences can be used in a positive way. These differences are not just seen in the nursing profession, but across the board. I see my children and my friends kids want the instant gratification that they have become so used to. Many of these kids also share a sense of entitlement, that they can and should have everything they want, and why should they wait for it. Many look to their parents to help them procure the objects of their desire instead of working for it. The blame for this lies strictly in my generation. We were the parents who gave our kids everything and stepped in to fight their battles when they failed. Now, before anyone takes offense, let me add that I don't see too much of this in the new nursing generation of today. These new nurses have learned that it takes hard work and endurance to get that degree and land that new nursing job. That being said, many of these new nurses are used to information being right at their fingertips. At lot of the innovation that the older generations have had to use is lost. On the other side, I find that the older generation of nurses have a very hard time dealing with change. They fight it tooth and nail, and many become lost in the technology of today. The younger generation is much more adaptable and able to integrate the new changes that are constantly flooding the health care of today.

    So the take away on all this is cross generational cooperation. The older nurses can help the newer nurses to learn how to be more innovative and creative especially when dealing with limited supplies and ancillary help that seems to have become the normal in many institutions today. The older generation has spent many years learning how to make do with less. The newer generation can help the older nurses in dealing with the changes occurring in the health care industry. These new nurses are much better with technology and become the resource people for the older generation trying to muddle their way through the new technology that is now becoming standard.

    The OP is trying to point out that instead of complaining and bemoaning the differences between generations, there should be an air of cooperation between them. Use the strengths of each one to enhance your own nursing practice with the benefit of better patient outcome and much more satisfactory working conditions.
    DizzyLizzyNurse, GM2RN, Meriwhen, and 2 others like this.
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    I agree with the Commuter and Pudnluv.


    As a 1981'er, I am part of the beginning of Generation Y, parents are Boomers and know how to be resourceful, patient, investment. I am more of the positives of the generation than the negatives. The most that multigenerational teams can do is to see the strengths of each other and focus on producing the best results for the team...at least, that is what I have experienced on most of the teams I worked on in my 10+ years in this business.
    jadelpn and herring_RN like this.
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    So, this is probably the rebuttal or opposite post to my thread. Eh, it's fair game, I guess. Here's the thing. Yes, 50 and 60 year olds worked their behind off. Both my parents did--they are close to 60 years old. They came from large families and were given nothing. However, my parents were military and my mom went to nursing school back in the 70s or 80s. Things were so much cheaper than they are now. So, paying for education was not a huge deal like it is now. Now, we have loan debt that people will be lucky to get rid of. Also, when my mom graduated, she had her pick of jobs. She told me this herself. She worked a nursing job 3 months and quit. Found a nursing job the next day.

    It may come across as laziness, the generation Y people sitting by the pool during the summer and they don't have jobs. But, how do you know that they didn't apply for that same job that went to the older nurse/worker? What do expect younger workers to do when they cannot find work? The way I look at it personally is that this is retirement for younger workers and then when the older workers do finally retire, the younger workers will be working until they die. So, why not enjoy it? I do not have a "real job", I babysit. So, I guess I am somewhat unemployed. I have a lot more free time than the older worker; however, that older worker was the one selected for the job, not me. I actually did throw out many applications before I graduated. Then, I got stips/HPMP and couldn't look for work until January. After that I threw out about 20 applications. Some I am still waiting on before I throw out more. Those 20 were for jobs that I really wanted. I gave up on the anything and everything. I feel the instant gratification and having what we want is actually to prevent job hopping. If we took anything, then I would probably leave right after I found the "dream" job. I chose to wait for what area I want over quitting after a few months in favor of another job. This seems to be a darned if you do, darned if you don't. I also think no matter what nursing job younger people get, older and/or more experienced staff should be nurturing their nursing career, helping them learn. Not looking for anything to fire them on.

    As far as kids...when I was in high school, was always encouraged not to have children as a teen and go to school, get the good education. I did that, like many other people my age. It's what we were encouraged to do. Now, employers like the people with kiddos because they think they will need job security.

    This is a no win for everyone.


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