Are your Gen X nurses satisfied?

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The generation of workers usually identified as Generation X (GenX) contributes significantly to the workplace. GenXers are sandwiched between Baby Boomers and Generation Y, with research confirming a lack of consistency related to their specific birth years.1-3 We've drawn from a majority of the sampled literature, selecting the birth year range of 1965 to 1980 to delineate GenX. In the 1980s, GenXers from Western English-speaking nations witnessed myriad social changes, such as the AIDS crisis; an increasing divorce rate; and economic instability, including a stock market crash and soaring unemployment, along with political events, such as the fall of the Berlin Wall and Operation Desert Storm. (See Table 1.)
GenX is so called as a result of the 1991 novel Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture by Douglas Coupland.4,5 The label was propagated by the media due to the cohort's initial namelessness at the time of their entry into the workforce. Since their entry into the workforce, GenXers have established a culture within organizations that reflects their preference for paid work to accommodate family, leisure, and lifestyle. Such flexibility in work patterns earned GenXers the “work to live” title.6 According to the literature, popular stereotypes of this generation have resulted in an image that's affected their motivation to work, organizational commitment, and tenure. Seen as pessimistic and individualistic, the professional behavior of GenXers is affected by their social and cultural environment, including the work environment.7,8 Outdated occupational stereotypes, such as loners and slackers, continue to plague GenXers.
The purpose of this integrative review is to examine job satisfaction in GenX nurses, which translates into their intent to stay in nursing. No previous integrative review of generational literature with a focus exclusively on GenX workers could be located. The review was undertaken from available studies published between 2005 and 2014, with the aim of exploring factors influencing job satisfaction in the GenX work environment. A total of 32 publications were identified for potential inclusion and further evaluated by researchers to determine if the articles met the inclusion criteria. (See Table 2.)
A number of research questions were developed to structure the review: 1) What characteristics of the work environment constitute job satisfaction for currently employed GenX workers? 2) What factors influence GenX workers in relation to their intent to stay in the workforce? 3) What factors of intergenerational communication impact job satisfaction and intent to stay in the workforce for GenX workers?
The following major themes emerged: information, knowledge, and communication; management and leadership; professional behaviors; production, rewards, and money; attitudes about employment experiences; familial and health impacts of work; and the work environment and its influencing factors.
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