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Retaining Nurses and Other Hospital Workers: An Intergenerational Perspective of the Work Climate

Authors

  • Melanie Lavoie-Tremblay RN, PhD,

    1. Tau Gamma, Assistant Professor, McGill University School of Nursing, Montréal, Researcher, Research Center, Fernand Seguin Hopital, Louis-H Lafontaine, both in Quebec, Canada
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  • Maxime Paquet PhD,

    1. Co-principal investigator, Research and Intervention Center for Healthy Organizations, McGill University Health Center, Montreal, Canada
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  • Marie-Anick Duchesne BSc,

    1. Advisor and Programs Coordinator, Research and Intervention Centre for Healthy Workplaces, McGill University Health Centre, Montréal, Québec, Canada
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  • Anelise Santo MSc, RN,

    1. Clinical Research Associate Nurse, McGill University Health Centre, Montréal, Québec, Canada
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  • Ana Gavrancic MPs,

    1. Consultant, Research and Intervention Centre for Healthy Organizations, Montréal, Québec, Canada
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  • François Courcy PhD,

    1. Psychologist, Associate Professor, University of Sherbrooke Department of Psychology, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada
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  • Serge Gagnon MPs, PhD

    1. Principal Investigator, Associate Director, Research and Intervention Centre for Healthy Workplaces, McGill University Health Centre, Montréal, Québec, Canada
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Correspondence
Dr. Melanie Lavoie-Tremblay, School of Nursing, McGill University, 3506 University Street, Montréal, Québec, Canada H3A 2A7. E-mail: Melanie.lavoie-tremblay@mcgill.ca

Abstract

Purpose: This article describes and compares work climate perceptions and intentions to quit among three generations of hospital workers and nurses.

Background: Never before in history has the workplace comprised such a span of generations. The current workforce includes three main generations: Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1963), Generation X (born between 1964 and 1980), and Generation Y (born between 1981 and 2000). However, very little research has linked turnover among nurses and other healthcare workers to their generational profile.

Method: A quantitative study with a correlational descriptive design was used. 1,376 hospital workers of the three generations (with 42.1% nurses, 15.6% support staff, 20.1% office employees, and 22.1% health professionals or technicians), employed in a university-affiliated hospital, completed a self-administered questionnaire. They answered the Psychological Climate Questionnaire and a measure of turnover intention.

Results: Generation Y hospital workers obtained a significantly lower score on the “Challenge” scale than did Baby Boomers. On the “Absence of Conflict” and “Warmth” scales, the opposite occurred, with Baby Boomers obtaining a significantly lower score than Generation Y respondents. If the nurse job category is taken separately, Generation Y nurses expressed a negative perception of the “Goal Emphasis” scale, compared with Baby Boomers. The proportion of Generation Y nurses who intend to quit is almost three times higher than that of other hospital workers from Generation Y. The main reason given by workers from Generations Y and X who intend to quit the organization is their own career advancement. The main reason given by Baby Boomers who intend to quit is retirement.

Conclusions: Retention strategies that focus on improving the work climate are beneficial to all generations of hospital workers and nurses. If generation-specific retention strategies are developed, these should focus on the three areas identified to have intergenerational differences: challenges, absence of conflict, and warmth.

Clinical Relevance: New nurses will benefit from strategies aimed at supporting their career advancement in the workplace.

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