Although the delayed retirement of older nurses has provided a buffer against low retention rates among new nurses, it’s only a matter of time before this buffer wanes. Is your organization ready to attract and retain new nurse grads from the millennial generation?

Top 6 Preferences of Millennial Nurse Grads

Out of the four generations in today’s workforce, the millennial generation is the largest. They’re also the future of healthcare. It’s time to tailor our work environments to meet their needs. We can start by understanding what they want.

1. Nursing Residencies

Millennials seek feedback. They work hard, and they want confirmation that they’re performing satisfactorily.

We can help them transition soundly to the profession by providing more nursing residency programs. Residency programs offer opportunities for mentorship, continued learning, and skills development in environments that foster confidence.

2. Safe Environments

Millennial nurses are turned off by nurse bullying and incivility. The millennial cohort is an emotionally intelligent generation. Their tolerance for harassment and rudeness is very low. Astute organizations will enforce their anti-bullying policies and support safe work environments for new nurses.

Keep a pulse on perceptions of nurse incivility and bullying in your hospital. Act swiftly, justly, and consistently to address problems.

3. Fellowship Programs for Specialties

Keep millennial nurses at your institution by investing in career development pathways. Offer fellowship programs in nursing specialties to build a bridge to new areas of nursing for those who wish to specialize.

Several hospitals are starting to offer fellowships in ER and L&D, but it would be wise to expand into other specialties as well. Consider creating fellowship programs in areas where you lack nurses and help early career nurses acquire the skills needed to enter those specialties at your institution.

Millennials aren’t afraid to pioneer. If there’s a need for a new training program, ask for their input in developing one. You may become an industry leader in the training of a particular field of nursing.

4. Career Support

More young nurses are turning to nurse career coaches for help. Senior healthcare administrators will want to capitalize on this trend. Make upper level staff available to young nurses at regular intervals.

Host Q&As, networking events, and mentorship meetings. Build on these events with formalized career development programs. New grads will appreciate step-by-step guides to move from a new nurse to advanced practice in their specialty of choice within your workplace.

5. Authenticity

Millennials expect management to deliver on their promises. If you say you’re going to start a career development program, do it.

Communicate often — even if this means letting participants know about a delay in program implementation. Millennials want to see that they’re working for someone real, someone who will get things done, someone serious about change.

6. Support for Healthy Work-Life Balance

Millennial nurses understand that long shifts, night rotations, and holiday work are part of the profession. But they don’t want to feel guilty about taking time off to bond with their newborn or care for their aging parents.

Be respectful about their views on self-care and their interest in work-life balance.

The Winning Combination

Although adapting your work environment to millennial needs has its challenges, if you can tailor three critical areas to these talented nurses, you’ll win many of them over. These areas are (1) mentorship and training, (2) culture and work environment, and (3) work-life balance. Millennials are loyal to employers who can meet their needs. Meet them, and you won’t have a problem with retention.