By Laura Raines, Pulse Editor
We recently attended my youngest daughter’s college graduation. By we, I mean my father (a veteran of World War II); my husband and I (baby boomers); my oldest daughter and her husband (Generation X); and their new baby (Generation ?).
We came by car and plane to support the accomplishment of our 22-year-old (Generation Y).
After a weekend of parties, receptions, packing and a baccalaureate service — none of us was ready to leap tall buildings when we arrived at 7:30 a.m. for the 9 a.m. commencement. Grandpa needed to sit down after the long walk to the venue. My husband and I longed for coffee and a newspaper to pass the time until the ceremony. The new parents worried about the cold weather and where to nurse the baby.
Seeing our daughter walk across the stage four hours later was, of course, priceless. Afterward, our beaming graduate hugged us all while texting her friends about meeting for photos and farewell parties.
Graduations are one of those multigenerational events when competing needs and tensions can surface easily. Fortunately, our five generations were on their best behavior and focused on the celebration.
The outcome isn’t always so peaceful in today’s work force, where, for the first time in our nation’s history, four generations are working side by side. Health care leaders must find ways to attract, retain and motivate employees who range in age from 18 to 70 and older.
As you’ll read about in our cover story, the health care industry is dealing with how to manage employees from four generations that represent social, economic, technological and psychological changes in the American workplace.
Kathy Young, RN, BSN, CIC, chief nursing officer at North Fulton Regional Hospital in Roswell, believes today’s health care professionals can handle it. “Change is a constant part of health care, so we’re in a better position to deal with it than many workplaces,” she said.
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