Cross-Generational Relationships in Nursing...

  1. The following excerpts are taken from a study guide that I am currently involved in with other women -- both younger and older than myself. This particular chapter made me think about how nurses interact with one another, or the lack thereof...

    I thought it would be both inspirational and educational for us -- as nurses -- to share our own perspectives regarding "Cross-Generational Relationships -- in Nursing". PLEASE NOTE: None of what you read here are my words, but words taken from the studyguide I am involved in:

    "Attitudes can be the biggest barriers to relationships. Sometimes the younger generation finds it difficult to listen and learn from the older generation; sometimes the older generation finds it hard to be patient and understanding with the younger generation."

    A) Share some positive attitudes that help or negative attitudes that hinder cross-generational relationships [in nursing], and how you overcame them in situations personally or professionally related to you.

    B) What attitudes do you need to develop in order to be more open to learning from those older and younger than you?

    C) Describe a meaningful relationship you have had with a nurse in a generation other than your own. What drew you to that person? What kinds of things did you learn from that person?
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   teeituptom
    Howdy Yall
    from deep in the heart of texas

    Well renee I started to respond to this, then decided that the best I could offer, is to state that I have absolutely no idea on how to respond to this, so I'll just shut my mouth

    keep it in the short grass yall
    teeituptom
  4. by   micro
    Renee,
    excellent thread and thoughts and STUDY!

    THINK i will take the approach and wait until another cup of coffee and respond with more brainpower.........

    otherwise I say.........great thread and couldn't agree more

    micro
  5. by   4XNURSE
    Originally posted by Renee Williams
    The following excerpts are taken from a study guide that I am currently involved in with other women -- both younger and older than myself. This particular chapter made me think about how nurses interact with one another, or the lack thereof...

    I thought it would be both inspirational and educational for us -- as nurses -- to share our own perspectives regarding "Cross-Generational Relationships -- in Nursing". PLEASE NOTE: None of what you read here are my words, but words taken from the studyguide I am involved in:

    "Attitudes can be the biggest barriers to relationships. Sometimes the younger generation finds it difficult to listen and learn from the older generation; sometimes the older generation finds it hard to be patient and understanding with the younger generation."

    A) Share some positive attitudes that help or negative attitudes that hinder cross-generational relationships [in nursing], and how you overcame them in situations personally or professionally related to you.

    B) What attitudes do you need to develop in order to be more open to learning from those older and younger than you?

    C) Describe a meaningful relationship you have had with a nurse in a generation other than your own. What drew you to that person? What kinds of things did you learn from that person?
    Wow Renee!

    "positive attitudes"

    "meaningful relationships"

    Let me get this straight. - You want me to remember that I used to be young and stupid. - You want me to consider the posiblilty that in my late 40s I am the old stuck in the mud party pooper I used to despise. You want me to somehow anticipate that I am about to become the crotchity old has been that needs to be put out to pasture. Worse yet, I AM that old has been, and I need to be put out to pasture. ???

    RENAAAEEEEEEE!

    OK, I'll put my thinking cap on.

    Thinking of "cross-generational" I am forced back to nursing school where couple of my favorite teachers were 10+ years my junior. I had two of them who just accepted me. They didn't seem to pay any attention to the fact that I was almost as old as their fathers, they also didn't seem to care that I was a man. To those two nursing instructors, I was a new student. period. I got the same type of assignments. The same type of patients. The same type of evaluations. If I did good work, I got credit for good work. If I screwed up (which I did more than once) I got chewed out. - (Rightly so) - I guess I should say reprimanded , eh?

    Is tolerance an attitude? I think that's what I need to develop most. Accept people without conditions attatched.

    I'm gonna think about this one some more. This is a good topic.

    just my $ .02

    ken
    Last edit by 4XNURSE on Mar 22, '02
  6. by   night owl
    This is so excellent Renee since I just came from that "other BB"
    where they are still bashing people who disagree with their high and mighty selves...icredible!
    POSITIVE ATTITUDES: Accepting people for who they are and for what they have to offer in your work enviornment or any working environment whether it be home, in the classroom, in a church activity whatever. We must LEARN to TOLERATE each other no matter how old or how young and learn to get along and work together. It's called peace and harmony. Help others when they need it, don't let them struggle... its just not right.



    NEGATIVE ATTITUDES: Don't bash
    others because they don't believe or agree with what you're doing. Everyone is not the same with the same beliefs and opinions as yours. Offer suggestions, don't criticize. If you do, make sure you're a mile away with their shoes! {{{LOL}}}

    I was always worried whether or not people would accept me for who I am and for what I have to offer. As one becomes older, it didn't matter what others said or thought. I just pushed myself in and hoped for the best because I just got tired of worrying all the time about it, and for the most part, I'm very satisfied with myself and the way I can tolerate many different kinds of people and their personalities and happy that most can tolerate me. If they can't, then it becomes their problem because I'm pretty easy to get along with.

    I developed a relationship with a nurse who was 20+ years older than myself. Why? because she took me under her wing and taught me a hellavalot (when no one else would) when I first started out and I was grateful to her and appreciated her.(she had alot of patience!) When they tried to bash me for anything, she stood up for me and showed me how to over come the nonsense. She was a hellava woman and NOTHING stood in her way and she wasn't afraid to speak her mind to anyone. She basically showed me how to believe in myself. She has been retired now for five years(oh how I cried) and she is still full of hell and still full of life. We still do things together and she will always be one of my closest friends. I will forever be grateful for having her "show me the way."
  7. by   live4today
    Thanks guys for your wonderful comments! I can tell we three are about the same ages by what you remember and relate to in your post! I find that soooooooo comforting!

    All my adult life, I have tended to gravitate to those women older than me. They just seem to make a lot more sense to me than my own generation at that time. In raising my three girls, I hung around MOMS who were also about ten to fifteen years older than me. Most girls my age were still childless, or just married, or still in college, or had little ones much younger than my own kids.

    I married at 18 - a virgin. We had our first child two months shy of me turning 19. I married my teenage sweetheart who was already out of highschool and serving in the Army before I even graduated from tenth grade. (He's three years older than I).

    So, quite naturally, when I started college, I hung out with those I was use to learning from - those older than myself. Those who happened to be younger than me in nursing school hung around me for the same reasons I hung around older students. We all had the need for knowledge from those more mature and wiser than ourselves.

    After graduation, passing boards, starting work, and finishing my long orientation from several great preceptors (both male and female/younger and older), I took from each one of those preceptors the knowledge that I needed to - in turn - mentor to those coming up behind me in the nursing field, so I always made myself available to the new grads when they came on board. Eventually, I became a preceptor myself because I loved teaching and helping other nurses and CNAs to learn learn learn!

    I'm not too proud to learn from those younger than me, as the wisest of phrases have been known to be birthed from "the mouths of babes". Nor did I ever feel too proud to shut up and tune in to the "seasoned nurses" around me. I'm a "seasoned nurse" today, yet I still leave myself open to learning from those older and younger than I, regardless of whether they are a CNA, LPN, or RN like myself.

    Whatever "attitudes" I had coming into nursing have only been twice refined like silver and gold since I've been a nurse. When I work, I always keep foremost in my mind that I am there as a part of the whole team of nurses, and not just the only one who can make a difference in our patients lives.
  8. by   Sundowner
    Awesome thread! OH I have so many thoughts! I became a nurse at 24 years of age (I think). My class was a mixed bag and I can remember thinking to myself that the older women had a harder time with their studies due to the fact that they were out of school longer than the others....lol.

    When I hit the floors...I know that I found much more patients and understanding from older peers, not to mention the willingness to share what they knew. My opinion has always been......take that old nurse and put her in your pocket because she is invalueable.

    I have paid attention to nurses, their years of experience and their ages throughout my career and I have noticed the older nurse,,,reguardless of experience tends to lack the arrogance of younger ones. An older nurse fresh out of school is not afraid to admit to her lack of knowing or to ask for help or direction.....she is also often times more approachable and easier to communicate with, has better bedside manner.

    The younger nurses......fresh out of school ....I have seen a mixed bag. Often I see the attitude right off the bat fresh o ut of the gates......a few years of experience will do one of two things......A. increase the ego, of course she is now more knowledgable,,,but not very approachable. with luck her bedside manner and communication skills have improved, though she probably still tends to believe she is all powefull and ususally right rarely needing the opinions or input from others.......she will end up being the older nurse who is bitter and keeps to herself I suspect. B. a few years under the belt and this nurse has realized that the input of others is invaluable....weather it be right or wrong..from an older nurse or a younger one.

    Fact is there is plenty to be learned from both.

    I think that older nurses need to remember how it was to be a new nurse.......a young nurse and attempt to extend and share themselves with younger ones......and in turn younger nurses need to allow themselves to be receptive to that.

    I recently worked with a 75yrold nurse......I am 32.....and babyfaced. This ole gal was as crude and crass as anyone could ever be....down right rude often times. I had to figure out how I was going to work by this womans side.....I couldnt stand her, but I had respect for her knowledge of her patients and her methodical ways of doing things. I am sure she didn t like me much either......but.....I decided I needed to find a way to get around this problem we had.....I had signed a six month contract with this facility and I wasnt backing out! Turns out this battle axe was training me to fill her shoes while she took a leave to have a triple bypass! Got me to thinking about her situation....and her feelings...and I decided that this woman who was having such a difficult time showing me things for many different reasons o f which I wont go into but I am sure you can immagine. I sat down one day and I looked her in the eye and I asked her to show me a few of her tricks of the trade...............she was putty in my hands then.....and I did learn a few things....some of which I tossed to the wind and others I kept. I did promise her that I would keep things up to her standards while she was out and I proved that I could and she went on her leave comfortably................and returned to everyones disbelief...she is back full time pushing those med carts. Still a very crass woman,, but I earned her respect and she some of mine....still dont like her though!
  9. by   mattsmom81
    Good point, Sundowner, it's NICE when we like the nurses we work with, but it ain't necessary!

    I'm the same and can get along with just about everyone unless their behavior is totally inappropriate, or their practice unsafe.

    Taking a moment to get to know a coworker can sometimes make all the difference...teambuilding activities like baby showers, birthday potlucks, etc. can help unit cohesiveness and bring everyone to a common place in spite of age differences. One manager of mine assigned each nurse an education project monthly to present to our peers...we all took turns 'teaching' one another...new and old.....it was a good idea!
  10. by   Brownms46
    Great thread...


    On my last contract here I met two women...who I ended up carpooling with to work each day. It started out just as a way to not have sit in traffic and inch, inch to work....put zip by...at least most of the time in HOV lane. Yeaaaa... Anyone who has been to Seattle...and had to navigate 405 or I 5 for that matter can understand when I say...I didn't care in the beginning if they had ten heads.....anything was better than sitting in the traffic. If it had not been for this carpool....I wouldn't have lasted 2 weeks on this contract!

    One of the nurses was a new LPN... from Minn. who was a new mom in her late twenties...and blonde...:chuckle....and also new to doing agency nursing. The other was originally from Ohio...married with no children....early thrities....and a RN-BSN....who was in a carpool with an MA...who was going onto another shift. She was a staff nurse working in the GI specialty unit...where I was contracted to do RR. And me ...an old agency nurse...let's just say who waaaaay older than them..:chuckle.

    I didn't know how this would work....but it worked better than I could have ever hoped!

    The first nurse "Jean1"...was as open and honest as the day is long. What she said was what she meant...and made no bones about what she thought. Her candor was totally refreshing...and I like her immediately! Negatives....there were none! She was breath of fresh air...caring...true to a fault.....and I couldn't picked a better person to now be my best friend.

    "Jean 2"...was very down to earth...open minded...can cut right through the...bull.. ..say exactly what she thought...and let the chips fall where they may! Negatives...not one I could find..

    We became the three musketters...and almost inseperable....until...now that I'm leaving here.

    We laughed...oooh how we laughed....we sang to each...especially "Jean2"...who loves the oldies...and we cried with each other. They were the reason...I was able to endure a loooong contract in a very stressful environement! Because I knew they would be waiting for me each day....I was able to get up and go to work. We celebrated brithdays...and holidays and surprised each other with tokens of affection.......during the 6 months I rode with them. I never knew what they were going to do each day...and they the same about me. One day...right after Thanksgiving...I made them wear Santa hats...to the delight of everyone....even though we were all sweating in them....:chuckle

    We talked about our problems ....and our joys...we talked and no one made judgements about the other. We learned many things from each other....and I ceased to see them as much younger...and they ceased to see me as older. With us there is no generational lines...we communicate just fine...:we took each other what each one was and is. cool: It became where we could each tell with a look...that something wasn't right...and we wouldn't let up until we had talked out whatever the problem was. When each was asked their opiinion ....they gave it from the heart...and I consider myself blessed to have met them.

    When my contract ended...they took me to dinner...and last nite I took them to dinner...although they thought they were taking me again...:chuckle. They even endure my pulling out my camcorder...as "Jean1" hates when I do that :chuckle:...but she put up with me just the same.... I will miss these two souls I have come to hold so dear to my heart.

    I think generational lines are only there...if we allow them to be...but if we look behind the years or lack of them....we will find much in common...if we would only try...
  11. by   mattsmom81
    When I was in nursing school I was taught 'my place' in the system and it was a good thing...I didn't have a big head and think that because I was younger I was better and was going to get a zillion initials after my name and 'save' the nursing profession.....

    I don't know if it's the students and/or the nursing schools , but there is a HUGE gap between the 40ish nurse and the 20ish nurse, IME. On many, many fronts. I have adopted an attitude of "If you can't be respectful to your coworkers and your charge nurse, or won't be a team player, do NOT expect any support from this nurse...you're on your own". This is where the exaggerated term 'eating our young' comes from, but I see this as a natural consequence to bad attitudes of many of our young nurses. I LOVE precepting those young staff members who project a respectful, learning attitude. I never expected as a new nurse to be spoon fed or put on a pedestal because I was 'it'. Why do so many young nurses I encounter today seem to project such an entitled and superior attitude?? And how do they think this will be helpful to anyone??

    I could share many, many stories from personal experience.....but I'll step off my seasoned nurse podium now...hehe.

    Renee, this is a good discussion but I don't think it's a fair expectation that the seasoned nurses 'adapt' to the youngsters.......the experienced staff serves as the beacon not vice versa.

    JMHO and everyone is, of course, free to disagree.
  12. by   live4today
    [i]
    renee, this is a good discussion but i don't think it's a fair expectation that the seasoned nurses 'adapt' to the youngsters.......the experienced staff serves as the beacon not vice versa.

    jmho and everyone is, of course, free to disagree. [/b]

    mattsmom, as much nursing experience as you have, i wouldn't dare disagree with you. :chuckle

    i reread my two posts, but i did not find the word 'adapt' in any of them. if i'm wrong, please pull out that quote for me to review. i did not mean for you to perceive that seasoned nurses should in any way 'adapt' to the new grads, but i did mean that we are never to old to learn from anyone, regardless of what age they may be. i have learned wonderful things from babes younger than myself, and they have learned things from me -- the more seasoned of the bunch.

    you are absolutely correct in saying that seasoned nurses should serve as the beacon for new nurses on board, but haven't you ever learned a thing or two from a new nurse? just curious...
  13. by   mattsmom81
    I am not taking issue with you on any point, Renee, only presenting my viewpoints and asking some questions.

    We can all learn things from each other, Renee, as I have mentioned elsewhere. In one of my facilities staff took turns doing in-depth research on a subject and presenting it to our peers in bulletin board/poster format...this worked very well and fosters a team learning environment. This kind of group learning is great, as we can't know everything about every topic, obviously.

    Perhaps it is not helpful for me to notice the difference in attitude I've encountered IME with many of today's younger nurses. I referred to the relatively new phrase 'eating our young' because it seems a result of seasoned nurses not catering to newbies in the way they want...I must wonder about the origins of this as I've heard so many young nurses tell me their instructors told them 'don't worry about the clinical skills, they'll come after graduation'. Is this where the attitude starts? Are they disappointed and angry staff doesn't have time to be the 'extended nursing instructors' they were hoping for and told to expect? I can relate if this is a root cause..but I am asking because I do not know.

    I'm coming from a smaller, non-teaching hospital point of view here and perhaps we should discourage new grads from these smaller, for profit facilities and promote internship programs that only the larger institutions can afford to offer. We are not staffed well enough today in smaller facilities to provide the level of nurturing needed by today's new grads. I recognize this, and can also understand if this is another reason young nurses 'feel eaten'.

    I have always gravitated towards my more mature group members as you have, Renee.....if I have a question or want to bounce something off someone else. I don't mind younger staff asking me questions, and I enjoy asking younger nurses about their experiences if they differ from mine. I love precepting as long as my young protege is respectful and projects a learning, teamwork attitude. My point here is that so many I have worked with are NOT. I wonder where that comes from. Is the nursing shortage creating a new and different breed of nurse? How do we all come together?

    I work very well with nurses of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and ages as long as they are respectful team players, take responsibility for their learning and aren't a major drain on the workings of the unit. Enough said!

    I think that my DON would be a tad upset if I waltzed into her office to 'teach' her what she doesn't know about nursing, and I would never be that disrespectful to my superior. And guess what, my last DON was younger than me! LOL!!
  14. by   live4today
    Hello mattsmom81!

    Good mid-morning to you since we're both in the big Lone Star state of Texas, and it's still considered morning at this hour!

    Thumbs up! (on your post comments) I had to laugh when reading about you waltzing into your DON's office and telling her things about nursing that she didn't know. :chuckle I've met some DONs who needed to be told a thing or two, but never went there myself. Now, if they ask...that's a horse of a different color! :chuckle

    I, too, always enjoyed precepting new grads. I also loved having worked as a Clinical Instructor for CNA students in the early 1990's! Teaching is a wonderful art! I loved teaching them as well as hearing about why they were in the program to become CNAs. They loved talking about their background experiences and what led them to the health care field. Most of the CNA students that I taught in the clinical setting had goals to become registered nurses because of many nurses that had impressed them along the way when they were patients in the hospital. I only heard wonderful tales about how great their nurses were to them whenever they were in the hospital. I have rarely ever heard a patient complain about their nurses...only on a few occasions has this ever happened. I love to learn from everyone I encounter in my life...even children who always have the knack for saying the darndest things!

    Thanks for sharing your own personal and professional viewpoints with me here, mattsmom! Still looking forward to chowing down on some ribs with you and Brownie once she gets to Texas! Are you still game? Have a good day now!

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