High patient acuity, short staffing, lack of civility, patient anxiety—these realities make for a highly stressful healthcare work-place. On top of that, a new generation has begun to enter the nursing workforce. Generation Y nurses are just starting their careers, joining the working nurses of Generation X, Baby Boomers, and Veterans. Generation Y is the most globally aware and racially diverse generation in history.

Each generation has its own characteristics, core values and attitudes, strengths, and weaknesses. Absorbing a new generation into the workplace can lead to or exacerbate conflict. Generation Y nurses have the tools, confidence, and tech savvy to take nursing to another level—but they pose challenges for health-care facilities and nursing leaders. To create a healthy workplace with optimal communication and teamwork, we need to understand, embrace, and incorporate them into our profession.

Keep in mind that sweeping statements about any generation are stereotypes. While they may...

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