Beam me up, scotty, but not just yet: Understanding generational diversity in the perioperative milieu

Publication Type:
Journal Article
ACORN, 2011, 24 (4), pp. 36 - 43
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Background: The current workforce profile of Australian perioperative nurses comprises three generations: Baby Boomers, Generation X (Gen X) and Generation Y (Gen Y, the Millenials, the Net generation). While diversity within the general nursing workforce has been explored and published over the last two decades, there has been little empirical research to support the existence of generational differences among perioperative nurses. Aim: This paper reports the results of a national study that examined generational differences in perioperative nurses'perceived competence. Method: A cross-sectional survey design was used. A census of 3,209 operating room (OR) nurses who were members of the Australian College of Operating Room Nurses (ACORN) was invited to participate. Demographic data and the Perceived Perioperative Competence Scale - Revised (PPCS-R), a 40-item survey consisting of six subscales to indicate different dimensions of perioperative competence were used. Analysis of variance was used to identify the generational differences between the Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y in perceived competence across the six subscales. Results: The response rate across the six subscales and the total PPCS-R scores, demonstrated that generational differences were statistically significant at p < .0001, with the Baby Boomers posting the highest scores across all competence domains (p < .0001). Conclusions: Understanding generational differences is important when determining skill mix and roles within the perioperative team. It is also crucial when designing education programmes that may be tailored to meet the unique needs of a diverse professional group.
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