CPIT research explores Gen Y nurses' discontent

CPIT research explores Gen Y nurses' discontent

Demanding shift work and intergenerational tension are two factors turning otherwise enthusiastic young nurses off their profession. Research by senior nursing tutor Dr Isabel Jamieson shows that concerns voiced by ‘Gen Y’ nurses could have significant workplace retention implications for the health sector.

Jamieson will present her findings on 21 August at 12.10pm for CPIT’s Research Month, which runs from 6 – 29 August with over 50 public presentations.

With an average age of 25, the nurses fit the Gen Y profile of altruistic, but discerning workers who want a work life balance and meaningful workplace support.

Jamieson surveyed 10% of registered New Zealand nurses under the age of 30 years (or 358 nurses), questioning them about their motivation for pursuing nursing and their long term career plans.

“The young nurses were motivated by traditional nursing values of wanting to help others and they saw nursing as interesting and exciting,” Jamieson said. “The difference is that only 20% think they should commit to nursing, or any profession, for ‘a reasonable time’. They don’t have the long term loyalty of previous generations.”

Nursing graduates

CPIT nursing students at their graduation ceremony.

Stress and tiredness seems to be taking its toll on Gen Y nurses. “They want to be the best nurses they can be and they are not willing to compromise on that. If they feel like the older nurses are not respecting their skills and they don’t have workplace flexibility, then my findings suggest they will start looking at other professions.”

Feedback and mentoring were seen as key satisfaction indicators. Pay was also important but not as dominant as work-life balance. Nurses indicated they don’t want to be exhausted on their days off as they need time for friends and family.

“The sector needs to nourish that initial enthusiasm for nursing. Providing career planning from the outset could be one way to achieve more adoption of a long-term commitment.”

CPIT has one of the largest nursing schools in the country. The institute has a significant role to play in the future health precinct in Christchurch and in contributing to the knowledge of the sector.

Jamieson’s study is just one research project at CPIT that supports Canterbury’s regional development. Research Month presentation cover diverse topics from new technologies and business innovation to media issues, arts developments and sports science news.

“The highlight of our research year is dissemination of research to our colleagues, stakeholders and partners through lunch time presentations throughout August,” Manager Research & Knowledge Transfer Dr Margaret Leonard said.

“Research outputs at CPIT increased in 2012 despite disruptions from closure of work spaces, performance venues and galleries. We acknowledge the contributions made by our external funders, our international collaborators and the invitations our staff have received to present, perform and work internationally.”


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