Blog » Making Room for Millennials

Making Room for Millennials

Created Nov 21 2016, 07:00 PM by Lippincott Solutions
  • Leadership
  • retention
  • millennial nurses
  • turnover

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

If your healthcare organization wants to retain new nurse grads, it’s going to need to look at things from their point of view. Rush Oak Park Hospital, Oak Park, IL, found that out the hard way a few years back. reports that the hospital had a nurse turnover rate of 20%. Most of those leaving were new grads who had been there less than two years. When asked why they were resigning, the nurses said they felt unappreciated by the more veteran nurses and that they weren’t able to make a difference.

Leaders were smart enough to do some soul searching and enact some changes based on the feedback, and things turned around.

Are you making room for your millennials? If your organization isn’t doing these three things, it may be driving away younger nurses.


Millennial nurses are skilled in negotiation and group dynamics, and many are eager to be involved in committees and special projects, the article explained.

“They want to feel that their opinions and extra activities are valued in making the organization a place of excellence,” Karen Mayer, PhD, MHA, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE, vice president of patient care services at Rush Oak Park Hospital, told the publication.

Why not give millennials the opportunities and feedback they crave? As nurse leaders, allow these inquisitive and energetic nurses to feel free to share their input with you. Let them ask questions, even about topics that may seem controversial or delicate. Build a rapport with them, and position yourself not merely as a supervisor or boss but also as a mentor or coach, experts advised.

“Something I hear a lot is that young people today just don’t want to work hard, but I disagree,” Joe Tye, CEO of Values Coach Inc., said in the article. “They aren’t motivated to show up just to impress a boss. They want to feel like they are connected to a bigger mission than the job.”


Millennials yearn to move. Hospitals that don’t allow them to try out new positions and units may find their younger nurses will instead try out other employers, according to the piece.

“They generally like to move around rather than stay in one place for too long,” Candace Smith, BSN, MPA, RN, NEA-BC, CNO, Manatee Memorial Hospital, Bradenton, FL, told

When leaders at Manatee Memorial noticed millennial nurses leaving their organization for new experiences, they launched a Grow Your Own program that allows nurses to request transfers to other units. Millennials responded, and those with no attendance problems, discipline issues, or other prohibitive factors were granted transfers, according to the article — and the hospital kept its nurses, making it a win-win all around.


With their confidence, group skills and negotiation talents, millennials can thrive when entrusted to lead. Recognizing this, Rush Oak Park Hospital rethought an old tradition that was holding back its younger nurses. 

“Historically, charge nurse roles were reserved for senior nurses, but we explained that younger RNs may have the skills needed for this role,” Dr. Mayer told

“I’ve also noticed that millennials are very passionate about being involved in committees,” she added. “It’s important to allow them to explore their ideas in these settings because they can see things that more experienced caregivers may not envision as a possibility.”

Granting millennial nurses leadership opportunities dropped the nurse turnover rate at Rush Oak Park Hospital to 12%. Additionally, it empowered the organization’s overall nursing culture and helped lead to the hospital’s first Magnet designation earlier this year.

At Midland Memorial Hospital, Midland, TX, a millennial nurse-led team was behind the launch of initiatives that boosted Press Ganey scores in the emergency department from the first percentile up to the 90th.

“Millennials have to have a sense of purpose greater than themselves,” senior vice president, chief operating officer and CNO Bob Dent, DNP, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, CENP, FACHE, told, “and I’m really trying to create an environment that values this.”

Are you?