Nursing Publications


Generational Differences in Distress, Attitudes and Incivility among Nurses

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Journal of Nursing Management





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Aims  The first research objective was to replicate the finding of Leiter et al. [(2008)Journal of Nursing Management, 16, 100–109.] of Generation X nurses (n = 338) reporting higher levels of distress than Baby Boomer nurses (n = 139). The second objective was to test whether Generation X nurses reported more negative social environments at work than did Baby Boomer nurses.

Background  Negative social environments can influence the quality of work and the experience of distress for nurses. Generational differences in the experience of distress and collegiality have implications for the establishment of healthy workplaces, recruitment and retention.

Methods  A questionnaire survey of nurses was organized by generation. Analyses of variance contrasted the scores on burnout, turnover intention, physical symptoms, supervisor incivility, coworker incivility and team civility.

Results  The results confirmed the hypotheses of Generation X nurses reporting more negative experiences than did Baby Boomer nurses on all measures.

Conclusions  The negative quality of social encounters at work contributes to nurses’ experience of distress and suggest conflicts of values with the dominant culture of their workplaces.

Implications for Nursing Management  Proactive initiatives to enhance the quality of collegiality can contribute to retention strategies. Building collegiality across generations can be especially useful.