HCA Healthcare gains insight into Millennial and Gen Z nurses

Feb. 12, 2020

HCA Healthcare commissioned a study conducted by the Center for Generational Kinetics to better understand what drives, engages and motivates the new generations of nurses entering the profession. Millennial and Gen Z nurses are rapidly making up a larger portion of the nursing workforce.

Through a survey of 1,000 Millennial nurses and 250 Gen Z nurses, key factors to enhance their recruitment and retention were found to be strong working relationships, opportunities for both horizontal and vertical career advancement, and access to resources.

“Every day, nurses make a tremendous contribution to delivering a high-quality patient care experience, and it’s incumbent on health system leaders to help new nurses navigate opportunities and thrive,” said Jane D. Englebright, senior vice president and chief nurse executive for HCA Healthcare. “To meet our patients’ needs, we must ensure the profession continues to attract dedicated and talented individuals, and once they start, that we not only empower them to succeed at their current job, but also provide opportunities and training that enable career progress.”

The study identified several major influences on Millennial and Gen Z nurses when evaluating current or future employment options, including the importance of team and managerial relationships, communications, ability to share ideas, opportunities for advancement, and access to the latest tools and resources for career development.

Among the most important factors in creating a positive work environment were nurses’ relationships, communication and ability to grow professionally:

·        Nearly half (44%) of Millennial and Gen Z nurses rated team and managerial relationships as the top dynamics in a positive work environment.

·         42% of nurses cited communication and the ability to make clinical decisions as important factors.

·         43% said the opportunity to grow professionally through career advancement was a crucial factor impacting the work environment.

·         More than a quarter (28%) of nurses also cited the importance of modern facilities and updated equipment as a factor in a positive work environment.

Additionally, the study looked at what helps nurses feel supported at work, as well as how nurses view career advancement and the need for training. Support characteristics such as scheduling flexibility, staffing levels, personal relationships, teamwork, training and the ability to have a voice in the organization were rated as important or very important by 43% – 46% of nurses.

Flexible work schedules was selected by 49% as the top way to help nurses feel supported, while 47% said having a clear pathway to sharing your ideas or having your concerns heard helps them feel supported.

For Millennial and Gen Z nurses, career advancement may not always be represented by vertical movement. Over a quarter (28%) of nurses rate being given increasing amounts of responsibility equal to moving to a different floor or department.

Having a clear direction or knowing exactly what is needed to advance your career was rated as important or very important by 46% of nurses, and 36% of nurses chose career advancement training as the most helpful type of employer education.

“The survey results highlight the importance of providing a transparent environment that gives nurses a sense of belonging while serving a greater purpose,” said Jason Dorsey, president and lead researcher at the Center for Generational Kinetics. “Ultimately every nurse is different, but it’s clear that nurses’ relationships, ability to be heard and feeling supported in their careers are important to maintaining a positive work environment that will attract and retain talented nurses.”

To foster team relationships and open communication, HCA Healthcare has established facility-based nurse councils to ensure nurses can share best practices and collaborate on clinical topics related to patient outcomes, nursing quality and quality standards.

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