Background: Generation Z currently represents approximately one-fourth of the US population. Those who took the traditional four-year college route began graduating and entering the workforce in 2017. Unlike any other time in history, there are currently multiple generations of nurses working side by side in the workforce. While each generational group brings a unique set of values, core beliefs, strengths, and limitations, nurses from all generations must find common ground to deliver quality patient care as a cohesive team. Understanding the characteristics of this newest group of Generation Z nurses and their early work experiences is imperative in order to discern what their potential contributions will be, how they will “fit-in” with this multi-generational nursing team, and what improvements can be made in the work environment.
Methods: Data for this qualitative descriptive study were derived from questions designed to elicit information regarding new graduate Generation Z nurses’ experience in the workplace. Semi-structured, researcher-participant interviews were used to guide participants in sharing their experiences. Questions used were open-ended and broad enough to gain rich descriptions from the Generation Z nurses regarding their experiences. Responses were recorded and transcribed. Rigor for the study was enhanced by having the researchers independently analyze the data, discuss the data, and come to agreement regarding the analysis.
Results: Generation Z nurses desire to be a part of the team both professionally and socially. They wish to be valued and provided specific action items nurses and managers can implement to create a healthy work environment. Many worked in the hospital setting prior to becoming a registered nurse, with the specific intent of evaluating the culture of the unit. Retention is greatly influenced by actions of peers and an environment of trust and support created by the manager. They are not afraid to work hard on a unit where everyone works together.
Conclusion: Findings suggest that Generation Z nurses, new in the workplace, want to work with and are open to learning from nurses of other generations. They wish to contribute to the organization and be valued by nursing management and their peers for their contributions in providing safe and competent care to their patients.