Intergenerational Differences – A Problem Faced By Nurses who work in Intergenerational Organizations


It is vital for a healthcare facility to ensure that it understands the conditions that nurses work in. Various differences may exist among nurses. There are racial and ethnic differences among nurses. This essay will analyze some of the problems that nurses who work in intergenerational organizations face and some of the outcomes of the problems.

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Clinical Problem

It is vital for members of a healthcare facility to appreciate and respect the differences that may exist in the healthcare facility. Therefore, it is vital for the members to appreciate racial, ethnic, and gender differences in the workplace. However, intergenerational differences may pose several problems to nurses if they fail to understand them properly. To understand the issue, it is vital to undertake a historical background of various generations in the healthcare setting.

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Generally, there are four generations in a clinical setting. These include veterans, baby boomers, generation X, and the millennial generation. Veterans refer to people who were born between 1922 and 1945.Baby boomers were born between 1945 and 1960. Generation x were born between 1960 and 1980. Finally, people in the millennial generation were born after 1980. The above generations had different experiences that helped in shaping their professional and personal values. Veterans were born during the during the Great Depression and the Second World War. However, during their adulthood, there was a significant improvement in the economic conditions. This made them acknowledge the fact that hard work pays. It also made them realize that people should respect authority. Therefore, loyalty, authority, and respect are some of the major values of people in this generation (Cordinez, 2002).

Baby boomers are the second generation. They were born during a period of economic prosperity. However, various traditional values still existed. Baby boomers grew up in homes that had two parents with one parent being the bread winner. Baby boomers began changing the system. People who could change the system were considered as heroes. Baby boomers are generally not conversant with technology (Raines, 2003).

Generation X is the third generation found in nursing. They were brought up in single parent homes. This is due to the fact that there was a significant in rates of divorce. This is the major reason that makes baby boomers value independence. They are also very self expressive. Members of this generation are not usually loyal to one employer. Generation X are highly conversant with technology. They also have great respect for balancing work and family life. Their upbringing in dysfunctional families made them realize the importance of having time for family. Therefore, they appreciate having flexible time schedules (Raines, 2003).

The millennial generation was brought up in an environment where they interacted with different cultures and races. Therefore, they know to work effectively with people from diverse backgrounds. In addition, they are multilingual and multiethnic. People in the millennial generation are also highly conversant with technological changes (Cordinez, 2002).

An examination of the historical backgrounds of the above generations helps in understanding the fact that differences in their past is the major factor that influences their differences. The generation of nurses have different perspectives on various issues. This may pose several problems to a healthcare organization. The differences are further complicated by the changes that have occurred in healthcare organizations. Most contemporary healthcare organizations use team based approach in undertaking various activities. Technological changes in healthcare organizations have also changed relationships in organizations. This has made baby boomers, who have great respect for authority, to seek the help of younger nurses on technological issues. This has increased tension among nurses in the generations.

Some nurses do not recognize the differences in pattern of behavior due to past experiences of people in different generations. For example, baby boomers usually have the perception that members of generation X are unreliable and disloyal. Conversely, members of generation X have the perception that baby boomers tendency to stick with one employer makes them be unable to cease new opportunities (Raines, 2003).


Despite the above differences, nurses from different generations can work together effectively. This would help in promote the well-being of the healthcare organization. Diversity management would help in management of the intergenerational differences. Baby boomers can learn how to manage their work and family life from the younger generations. On the other hand, the millennial generation can learn on the importance of having long-term goals from baby boomers. This may be critical in the professional development of the baby boomers. In most instances, conflicts arise due to failure to understand the root causes of the differences. Failure to incorporate the views of the other generation complicates the problems (Raines, 2003).


Acknowledging intergenerational differences would create a favorable environment for an organization to flourish. Healthcare institutions should formulate strategies that would enable them to benefit from the intergenerational differences. Baby boomers – who have vast experience – may help in improving the quality of nursing. On the other hand, members of the younger generation may use the technological know how to improve the efficiency of the healthcare institution.

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