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Millennial nurses appreciate meaningful recognition for patient care

Millennials, the generation born between 1982 and 2000, have surpassed baby boomers as the nation’s largest living generation, according to 2016 population estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau.

As baby-boomers retire, managing and retaining a workforce increasingly comprised of millennials has become another healthcare administrative challenge. At a time when we face a nursing shortage, it’s important to understand some general values of millennials to recruit and retain the best nurses from this generation.

Millennials embrace change

We change employers more frequently than previous generations. Change is something we expect and embrace. We grew up with advancing technology at our fingertips. Healthcare is also in a constant state of change. Healthcare professionals are needed who not only embrace technology, but also thrive in a changing environment. Millennials are poised for healthcare positions within this dynamic environment.

Recognition matters

As a millennial, I remember receiving a trophy for each race I ran, no matter where I placed. My example is not unique because many from my generation were accustomed to praise during their youth, and expect regular affirmation in the workplace as adults. As a generation, we want to make a difference through the work we do and need to know that we are positively impacting those around us.

Meaningful recognition

As a regional program director for The DAISY Foundation, I often visit healthcare organizations using The DAISY Award to meaningfully recognize their nurses for the compassionate care they provide. The DAISY Award is an example of meaningful recognition, one of the six elements of a healthy work environment as described by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses.

When visiting “DAISY” organizations, I’ve witnessed the impact of meaningful recognition and The DAISY Award as it crosses generations. I have especially noted its impact on millennial nurses. The look of gratitude in the eyes of a young nurse recognized by more senior nurses for The DAISY Award, builds bridges of gratitude between generations. During DAISY Award presentations, I’ve observed millennial nurses embrace their colleagues of all generations, celebrating with them in the extraordinary work that they share as nurses.


In these celebrations, each DAISY honoree is presented a certificate, a DAISY pin and a statue entitled, “Healer’s Touch,” carved by a tribe in Zimbabwe. The tribe’s work is supported by The DAISY Foundation.

We often receive notes from DAISY honorees who express their gratitude for the existence of The DAISY Award. One note resonated with the theme of making an impact; a theme the millennial generation embraces.

“… When I heard how The DAISY Award came to be, you can’t, as a nurse, not be touched … This foundation makes me want to give back to my community even more. The statue was such a perfect symbol of caring and knowing it also is providing for the welfare of tribes in Africa – so awesome!!”

The voices and contributions of the millennial generation will continue to grow and their contributions will need to be recognized in a way that is meaningful and affirms value for them.

The DAISY Award is used by more than 2,600 facilities throughout the United States and in 15 other countries. The continued growth is attributed to the success of The DAISY Award program in these facilities and to the open communication between organizations about its impact.

Meaningful recognition can help retain and recruit great nurses, which makes good business sense. More importantly, it makes great people sense. Millennials will resonate and thrive in a culture where all generations work together, providing exceptional and compassionate care. The DAISY Award is an exemplar in acknowledging the positive impact this generation of nurses makes in the lives of others.

Courses Related to ‘Generation’

CE478: Bridging the Generation Gaps
 (1 contact hr)

Today’s healthcare workforce is a lively mix of generations. Today’s workforce is retiring later, and we now have five distinct generations working together: Veterans (born 1922 to 1946); baby boomers (born 1946 to 1964); and Generations (Gen) X( born 1964 to 1980), Y (born 1980-2000), and Z (born 2000-2012). People born around the same time develop attitudes and personalities shaped by a common history of cultural events, images, and experiences. Generations experience the same national catastrophes and achievements, grow up with the same music and cultural memorabilia, and start school and work at about the same time. Generational commonalities cut across racial and ethnic lines. Spanning 15 to 20 years, each generation has its own way of viewing the world. Collective life experiences shape what generations value, what they expect in relationships, and how they process and communicate information. Understanding each generation’s views on life and work promotes collaboration in the workplace. When dealing with various patient populations, it can make the difference between miscommunication and success.

WEB242: The American Healthcare Workforce: Building and Sustaining for the Future
 (1 contact hr)

Is the healthcare workforce about supply or sustainability? As the baby boomer generation continues to age, more healthcare professionals will be needed to take care of this population. Will there be enough competent, compassionate people who not only enter the healthcare workforce but also remain in it to provide that care? This webinar will discuss how ensuring an ethical practice environment where clinicians can practice with integrity and are not subjected to morally distressing situations that cause burnout is necessary for that sustainability.

WEB293: Nursing Faculty: The Influence Behind Nursing’s Future
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Do you like to share what you know with others? Do you enjoy watching other nurses learn and grow? One of the best things about nursing is the ability to move forward in a career by teaching. You can share your expertise with both new nurses and with those seeking advanced preparation. Learn about nursing education, teaching, and how YOU can influence future generations of nurses.

By | 2017-07-28T19:13:07-04:00 August 2nd, 2017|Categories: Nursing Careers and Jobs|1 Comment

About the Author:

Amy Vetter
Amy Vetter, BA, is a regional program director at The DAISY Foundation.

One Comment

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    Sherry Denson October 24, 2017 at 1:07 pm - Reply

    I would like to know more about careers for nurese outside the traditional hospital, patient care, management, or teaching. I am interested in developing products and equipment that we nurses use.

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