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Engaging Millennial Nurses

The nurses entering the work force today are tomorrow’s nurse leaders.  Yet, traditional nursing schools do not always train nurses for leadership roles.  Today’s leaders need to mentor and coach these upcoming Millennial nurses. 

Press Ganey CNO Christy Dempsey states the key qualities of nurse leaders include the ability to:

1.      Foster trust and teamwork

2.      Model compassion and empathy

3.      Provide support in the form of human, material and emotional resources

4.      Communicate effectively with patients, physicians and other nurses

5.      Be visible and accessible

6.      Acknowledge the complexity and the gravity of the work nurses do

There are some who argue empathy can’t be taught, but Dempsey doesn’t agree. She believes teaching nurse leaders empathy builds trust and allows them to lead with compassion but also based on data.  One of the most effective strategies for developing new nurse leader empathy is roleplaying. Dempsey also suggests talking about empathy and compassion on an annual basis to ensure it becomes second nature for nurses.

The nurse culture begins with leadership and can drive forward with the right attitude from the top down. Nurse leaders can practice "modeling behavior" to encourage others and raise the standard of care.

Active communication is a key component of leadership. Millennials may have different priorities than previous generations. For example, work-life balance is very important to this generation and effective leaders are proactive about learning how to encourage excellence out of their team. Millennials also prefer to be “coached” rather than “managed,” so mentors can appropriately adapt and shape their role in order to help grow and prepare their mentees for their future careers.

Young nurses need strong leaders who will work with them beyond the traditional facility orientation; they need mentors who will help make sure these new leaders understand not only their job, but also what effective nurse leadership looks like.




Guest Blogger:   Blair Tetenbaum is a Marketing Specialist with Fashion Seal Healthcare.  She brings a strong, up-beat passion to the team with a unique perspective as a millennial.




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