Orienting a new generation of nurses: Expectations of the millennial new graduate


Generational diversity provides a unique quandary for nursing leaders and educators to enlist, orient, and retain nurses. Millennials are the largest cohort since the Baby Boomers and the age group from which the nursing profession will build its future workforce. This study examined the experiences of the new graduate nurse of the millennial generation as they navigate orientation in an acute care setting. Using a Web-based survey to conduct the study allowed nurses from across the country to participate while providing easy access to the study questions. Analysis of the data through qualitative content analysis demonstrated a dominate theme of seeking structure while expecting an individualized orientation. The survey also revealed the importance of the preceptor and manager in the perceived success of this generation’s transition and a need to assimilate into the professional role of RN. Recognizing that there is a need to promote a more individualized orientation with improved mentoring for novice nurses and their preceptors is evident and challenges nursing leaders and educators to rethink current practices to retain new nurses. Established roles within the hospital and individual nursing units are changing and traditional strategies for recruitment and retention no longer apply. A structured orientation can facilitate the transition from new graduate to professional nurse and assist in the retention of qualified nurses and ultimately safe patient care.

Share and Cite:

Riegel, E. (2013) Orienting a new generation of nurses: Expectations of the millennial new graduate. Open Journal of Nursing, 3, 461-466. doi: 10.4236/ojn.2013.37062.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] US Department of Health and Human Services (2010) Health Resources and Services Administration. The Registered Nurse Population: Initial Findings from the 2008 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses.
[2] Sherman, R. (2006) Leading a multigenerational nursing workforce: Issues, challenges and strategies. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 11.
[3] Casey, K., Fink, R., Krugman, M. and Propst, J. (2004). The graduate nurse experience. Journal of Nursing Administration, 34, 303-311.
[4] Park, M. and Jones, C. (2010) A retention strategy for newly graduated nurses. Journal for Nurses in Staff Development, 26, 142-149.
[5] Baxter, P. (2010) Providing orientation programs to new graduate nurses: Points to consider. Journal for Nurses in Staff Development, 26, E12-E17.
[6] Dyess, S. and Sherman, R. (2009) The first year of practice: New graduate nurse’s transition and learning needs. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 40, 403-410. http://dx.doi.org/10.3928/00220124-20090824-03
[7] Lamp, K., Stratton, K. and Welsh, J. (2011) Evaluating orientation preferences of the generation Y new graduate nurse. Journal for Nurses in Staff Development, 27, E6-E9. http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/NND.0b013e3182236646
[8] Weston, M. (2006) Integrating generational perspectives in nursing. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 11.
[9] Christmas, K. (2008) Attracting and retaining millennialnurses. http://www.nursingcenter.com/upload/static/1252649/BernardHodesWhitePaper.pdf
[10] Almada, P., Carafoli, K., Flattery, J., French, D. and Mcnamara, M. (2004) Improving the retention rate of newly graduated nurses. Journal for Nurses in Staff Development, 20, 268-273.
[11] Cheeks, P. and Dunn, P. (2010) A new graduate program. Journal for Nurses in Staff Development, 26, 223-227.
[12] Delaney, C. (2003) Walking a fine line: Graduatenurse’s transition experiences during orientation. Journal of Nursing Education, 42, 437-443.
[13] Kelly, J. and Ahern, K. (2008) Preparing nurses forpractice: A phenomenological study of the new graduate in Australia. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 18, 910-918.
[14] Scott, E., Keeher, M. and Swanson, M. (2008) Newgraduate nurse transitioning: Necessary or nice? Applied Nursing Research, 21, 75-83.
[15] Lavoie-Tremblay, M., Paquet, M., Marchionni, C. and Drevniok, U. (2011) Turnover intention among new nurses: A generational perspective. Journal for Nurses in Staff Development, 27, 39-45
[16] Olson, M. (2009) The “millennials”: First year inpractice. Nursing Outlook, 57, 10-17.
[17] Holmes, S. (2009) Methodological and ethical considerations in designing an internet study of quality of life: A discussion paper. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 46, 394-405.
[18] Ogolsky, B., Niehuis, S. and Ridley, C. (2009) Usingonline methods and designs to conduct research on personal relationships. Marriage and Family Review, 45, 610-628.
[19] Opdenakker, R. (2006) Advantages and disadvantages of four interview techniques in qualitative research. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 7.
[20] Illingworth, N. (2001) The internet matters: Exploring the use of the internet as a research tool. Sociology Research Online, 6, 1-16. http://dx.doi.org/10.5153/sro.600
[21] Colaizzi, P. (1978) Psychological research as a phenomenologist views it. In: Valle R. and King, S., Eds., Existential-Phenomenological Alternatives for Psychology, Oxford University Press, New York.
[22] Shorter, M. and Stayt, L. (2010) Critical care nurses’ experiences of grief in an adult intensive care unit. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 66, 159-167.
[23] Saunders, C. (2003) Application of Colaizzi’s method: Interpretation of an auditable decision trail by a novice researcher. Contemporary Nurse, 14, 292-302.
[24] Kramer, L. (2010) Generational diversity. Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing, 29, 125-128.
[25] Lavoie-Tremblay, M., Leclerc, E., Marchionni, C. and Ulrika, D. (2010) The needs and expectations of generation Y nurses in the workplace. Journal for Nurses in Staff Development, 26, E2-E8.
[26] US Department of Education (2000) Individualized education program.
[27] Duchsher, J. (2001) Out in the real world: Newly graduated nurses in acute care speak out. Journal of Nursing Administration, 31, 426-439.
[28] Malouf, N. and West, S. (2011) Fitting in: A pervasive new graduate nurse need. Nursing Education Today, 31, 488-493. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nedt.2010.10.002
[29] Zinsmeister, L. and Schafer, D. (2009). The exploration of the lived experience of the graduate nurse making the transition to registered nurse during the first year of practice. Journal for Nurses in Staff Development, 25, 28-34.
[30] Kupperschmidt, B. (2006) Addressing multigenerational conflict: Mutual respect and care fronting as strategy. Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 11, 1-15.
[31] Fink, R., Krugman, M., Casey, K. and Goode, C. (2008) The graduate nurses experience: Qualitative residency program outcomes. The Journal of Nursing Administration, 38, 341-348.
[32] Institute of Medicine (2011) The future of nursing: Leading change, advancing health. National Academies Press, Washington DC. http://www.nap.edu/catalog/12956.html

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.