Amid the discussion these days on recruiting millennial (aka Generation Y) nurses and accommodating a multigenerational workforce, another generation has emerged that brings a whole new perspective to the nursing profession.
What makes Generation Z unique?
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Most like the silent generation that experienced the Great Depression, Generation Z likely will consider work a privilege and believe you earn your own way through hard work and long hours, with promotions the result of tenure and productivity. Although most of Generation Z — 81% — believe they must obtain a college education to achieve their career goals, they will not go into debt like millennials have to obtain their degrees. Generation Z will most likely enter the workforce quickly and look for other avenues outside of school loans, such as ROTC and employer benefits to pay for education. Having witnessed their own Gen X parents’ losses during the Great Recession, they are more mindful of financial issues and future careers and are concerned about acquiring debt right into early adulthood.
Generation Z, which includes those born between 1996 and 2015, is said to be most similar to the silent generation born 1925 to 1942, according to William Strauss and Neil Howe’s generational theory. Generation Z has grown up with unsettlement and insecurity. They value security, comfort, familiar activities and environments. Members of this generation grew up watching their parents lose their houses in the housing bust, losing jobs and facing economic uncertainty. With Generation Z entering nursing school and their younger members right behind them, the nursing workforce soon will have five generations, each bringing various levels of expertise and knowledge. According to the Strauss and Howe theory, Generation Z and the silent generation belong to the same archetype defined as entering after an unraveling and during a crisis and coming into young adulthood as process-oriented midlife leaders (think Martin Luther King Jr. and Theodore Roosevelt). Gen X entered childhood during an awakening and growing up as unprotected children.

Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, entered during a period of unraveling and grew up as increasingly protected children and emerging as overly confident in midlife. Baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, entered childhood during a high time of rejuvenated community life.
Meanwhile, millennials want flexibility and versatility, instead. Another key difference between Generation Z and their millennial elders is screen time. While both generations are digital natives — with the versatile tech skills many employers seek, Generation Z prefers face-to-face meetings as opposed to virtual meetings that millennials prefer. Millennials also are online using PCs and tablets at a higher rate than Generation Z (7.43 hours per day vs. Gen Z at 7.25 hours). Apps like Snapchat have changed the way people process information, leading Generation Z to process information faster. These apps will change the way publications are written, with readers getting just the snippets of information they want when they want it. At the same time, researchers have found only 22% of Gen Z trust posts by companies on social media, and 13% trust text messages from companies. Generation Z has a higher amount of trust — 53% — in consumer-written online reviews and professionally written online reviews — 59%. When it comes to online ads, Generation Z will make as much effort as possible to avoid them. Read more about Strauss and Howe’s generational theory here.
Get to know Generation Z
Another generation is on its way to becoming tomorrow’s nurses
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