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Generational differences in distress, attitudes and incivility among nurses

Authors

  • MICHAEL P. LEITER PhD,

    1. Canada Research Chair in Occupational Health and Wellbeing, Centre for Organizational Research and Development, Acadia University, Wolfville, NS
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  • SHERI L. PRICE RN, PhD(c),

    1. Research Associate, IWK Health Centre, PhD Candidate, Lawrence S, Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, CIHR Doctoral Fellow, Health Service and Policy Research
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  • HEATHER K. SPENCE LASCHINGER RN, PhD, FCAHS

    1. Distinguished University Professor, University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada
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Michael P. Leiter
Centrefor Organizational Research and Development
Acadia University
Wolfville
NS
Canada
E-mail:michael.leiter@acadiau.ca

Abstract

leiter m.p., price s.l. & spence laschinger h.k. (2010) Journal of Nursing Management18, 970–980
Generational differences in distress, attitudes and incivility among nurses

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.

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