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1Creating a Welcoming Workplace for the Older WorkerShanna ShermanWalden University
2Creating a Welcoming Workplace for the Older WorkerThe National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) partnered with the National Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers surveyed the nation’s nurses for demographical data and reported that the average age of registered nurses (RNs) in the United States is 51 years old. Within the next ten to 15 years, the nursing profession will experience a shortage of nurses as theveteran and baby boomer generations retire at greater numbers than can be filled by new graduates. Older nurses have qualities to offer that the younger generations have yet to experience. Nurse leaders must recognize that older nurses are valuable sources of knowledge and provide the health care field with a level of expertise that younger nurses have not yet attained (Collins-McNeil, Sharpe, & Benbow, 2012). This paper will examine the demographic breakdown of an organization, describe the favorable attributes as well as the unfavorable attributes the organization has in regards to the older worker, and propose strategies for the organization to engage and retain older workers.Demographic BreakdownGillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare is a 60-bed pediatric specialty care hospital and level one pediatric trauma center. Gillette’s nursing staff has experienced several baby boomers retiring over the past five years and an influx of new graduates entering the nursing profession. There are a total of 1428 employees at GCSH. The current demographic breakdown is as follows:20-29 – 250 employees (18%)30-39 – 464 employees (32%)40-49 – 328 employees (22%)
350-59 – 246 employees (17%)60-69 – 136 employees (10%)70+ - 4 employees (<1%)Conduciveness and Difficulties for the Older WorkerGenerational conflict is a common occurrence at all organizations and the nursing workforce is no exception. Today’s nurses typically belong to one of four generation categories:“Veterans who were born from 1922 to 1943Baby boomers who were born in 1943-1960Generation Xers who were born in 1960-1980Millennials (generation Y) who were born in 1980-2000” (Outten, 2012).Each generation has distinct traits and dispositions that distinguish it from the next, and when notrecognized for their uniqueness can cause conflict resulting in negative consequences and outcomes for the organization (Outten, 2012). Creating an environment conducive to the older worker can provide great benefits to any organization.

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