Millennials in Nursing: Are We Unsatisfied?

WERE YOU ONE OF THE NURSES THAT PUSHED THROUGH NURSING SCHOOL, TOILED OVER BOARDS, AND FOUGHT FOR THAT JOB, JUST TO LIFT YOUR HEAD UP ONE DAY AND SAY…YOU KNOW, I THINK I WAS MEANT FOR MORE THAN JUST THIS.

What is it about being at a hospital at 2 in the morning, covered in someone else's skin-flakey bath water, topping off their already unpleasant hospital experience with a bath at that ungodly hour, that makes us think - is this my life right now? Is this what I was meant to do? Is this how I'm going to spend the rest of my days?

If I've felt this way, I know others have, too. In fact, in my travels, I am meeting more and more people in my generation who feel this way no matter where they work: in the ICU, on MedSurg, in Home Health…etc. So what is it? Is it nursing? Is it the times? It is our generation?

Millennials are coming into a "nursing-world" built by the generations before us, with a foundation from a culture built before them. As nursing evolves, it quickly bares more and more weight of capitalism (take more patients, complete more tasks, reimbursement, reimbursement, reimbursement) causing burnout from insurmountable paperwork and unsupportive hospital cultures. On top of dealing with death and disease, we deal with dreadful working conditions yielding a nurse that is depleted physically, mentally, emotionally, and creatively.

What do we as Millennials want out of a career? Flexibility - better pay - a creative outlet? 

As a culture - within and outside of healthcare - we are raising the importance of self care and of creative endeavors with or without earnings. For the sake of all caregivers and the entire healthcare team, can we create an environment where we meet both our personal needs as wells the needs of our patients, in a way that is healthy for both of us? 

Maybe we feel cheated by the lure of nursing school, and the discrepancy that is discovered in the workforce - in image, pay, and even role. Maybe all we want is to have a job that we can enjoy and that will afford us a cool lifestyle. Maybe we don’t want to be constantly pressured to go back to school for a terminal degree. Can society (or our parents) just be okay with this?  

I don't know the answers to all the questions but I think it begins by at least saying it out loud. Millennials in nursing: are we unsatisfied?