From the desk of Adrianne Avillion, DEd, RN

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, April 23, 2010

Editor's note: Welcome to our new feature written by staff development expert Adrianne Avillion. Each week, Adrianne will write about an important issue in the area of staff development or answer reader questions. If you have a question for Adrianne, e-mail her at

Q: I'm struggling with a generational issue. Within the past couple of years, we have hired several nurses from the Y generation. They work hard, but they don't seem satisfied and turnover is high. What motivates Generation Y? What can we do to increase job satisfaction?

A: With four (soon to be five) generations in the workplace, it's important for us to know what motivates each generation. Generation Y represents about 12% of the workforce. Here are some research findings regarding what Generation Y nurses want:

  • Recognition: Monetary recognition is important, but so are verbal acknowledgements from managers, physicians, and peers of jobs well done.
  • Continuing education: These nurses want education and training in flexible, on-demand formats. This generation is accustomed to technology that delivers what they want, when they want it.
  • Coaching and mentoring: This generation likes to have coaches and mentors. They find great benefit in the mentoring process and enjoy having someone who is there to encourage, guide, listen, and be a role model without formal authority over them.
  • Scheduling: They like to have a say in their work schedules and are enthusiastic participants in the self-scheduling process.
  • Reputation of the organization: The reputation of the employer is very important. They want to work at a place that is known for giving its employees opportunities for advancement, professional growth, and development. They also want to work for an organization that is recognized for patient excellence.

Here is a good resource article that may be of help. Lavoie-Tremblay, M., Leclerc, E., Marchionni, C., & Dreviok, U. (2010). The needs and expectations of generation Y nurses in the workplace. Journal for Nurses in Staff Development 26(1): 2-8.

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