2017 Magnet – Trends in Nursing Education and Workforce

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    If you missed this year’s Magnet conference, or didn’t have a chance to make it to all the sessions on your list, one of the hottest topics was the Millennial nurse—especially how to engage and retain this new generation in the field of nursing.

    2017 Magnet – Trends in Nursing Education and Workforce

    Millennials view job satisfaction differently than previous generations-which is important for employers to know. There is certainly ample research that demonstrates that this generation of nurses not only want to be challenged, but also want to educate themselves in order to successfully handle those challenges. They value learning, having new experiences and finding a mentor over moving up the ladder or establishing job security. Millennials want to feel connected to their workplace and are looking for ways to stay engaged. These new characteristics and values are important for managers and coworkers to understand in order to best work with the new generation of nurses.

    If you're a manager or coworker working closely with the millennial nurse population, here are a few questions to think about when assessing your organization's preparedness to meet these new needs:
    • Millennial nurses desire change and new experiences; how are you keeping the day-to-day fresh? Are there opportunities for them to shadow in other departments? Can they explore other specialty areas (such as peri-op) in order to consider a change in focus?
    • Are there micro/stackable credentialing opportunities available to empower growth and autonomy? Do you encourage membership in professional nursing organizations that allow for development of specialty and leadership skills?
    • How do you and your organization communicate your values? Millennial nurses want to feel connected to their workplaces' mission and vision so it's important that these values are communicated clearly. Are there opportunities for millennial nurses to contribute to initiatives at the unit level? At the organizational level?

    Another key theme I noticed from this year's sessions was a discussion of the gap between nursing education and practice. Nurses graduate and have certain assumptions about practice-but the real world is not always quite the same as they might imagine. So how can we prepare for that? There has been some success with nurse residencies, some success with training nurses to be preceptors rather than assigning a staff nurse as a preceptor, and successful efforts to set up concrete expectations for and of the nurses. One speaker in particular discussed a student nurse academy, which engaged students as employees throughout their nursing education in order to streamline expectations after graduation. This will be an interesting area to watch and see how nursing education and the field in general will continue to evolve and address this issue.

    If you have felt a gap between nursing education and practice, what recommendations could you bring back to your organization to fix this problem? What were some of your "rude awakenings" when you entered the practice that you felt unprepared for?

    As nursing education evolves to meet the needs of the workforce, we need to be thinking about how we and those we work with can stay fresh and current in the field. Here are a few recommendations for making ongoing education a part of your career lifecycle:
    • Join a nursing association, like ANA
    • Talk with a mentor and develop a career trajectory, determining what it will take to get there (advanced degree, credential, experience, board service)
    • Use social media, like Twitter and LinkedIn, to follow thought leaders in the field
    • Attend conferences (like Magnet)
    • Identify opportunities to explore other specialty areas in nursing

    A few other key topics from the conference included:
    • Leadership Development
    • Ways to "grow your own" through mentoring, coaching and education
    • The value of diversity in leadership
    • Understanding and teaching transformational leadership
    • Interprofessional practice
    • Improving communication among different healthcare roles
    • Increasing understanding of the need to collaborate
    • Changing the culture of healthcare in order to increase the value of interprofessional practice

    Some key clinical topics included:
    • Preventing falls
    • Improving access to palliative care
    • The opioid epidemic

    I would love to know your thoughts if you attended this year. What topics did you find especially interesting? Any key takeaways you want to share with others? Leave your responses in the comment section.

    By: Adele A. Webb, PhD, RN, FNAP, FAAN
    Sr. Academic Director of Workforce Solutions at Capella University
    Last edit by Joe V on Jun 15, '18

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