Did you grow up doing any of the following a. playing Oregon Trail on a desktop computer b. wearing Playskool roller skates velcroed over your Keds c. watching the TV hit Full House? If so, you might be a millennial. My husband and I always argue about which of us is a millennial (he is clearly too old to be considered). Most people, however, define the generation as those individuals born from the early 1980’s through the mid 1990’s. As this generation establishes itself further and further in the workforce, we can expect to see some changes in the coming years. 

The healthcare sector is notoriously slow when it comes to adopting trends. Government involvement in the industry causes it to move as a glacial pace. Yes, healthcare is old and crusty. While change happens slowly in medicine, we are seeing the beginnings of the millennial effect on healthcare. With Forbes’ prediction that 3 out of 4 workers will be millennials by 2025, the generation will have a significant impact on our industry. How can you expect this generation to influence the nurse practitioner profession in the coming years?

1. The Aha! Moment for Balance

Balance is an ever elusive quality in the working world, it seems. If anyone can achieve satisfaction in their work and between work and a personal life, however it’s this generation. Millennials value purpose and meaning in their work. They seek employers that offer such qualities over a larger paycheck. In addition, millennials seek employers who can provide balance with one’s personal life adding value to life outside of one’s career as well. They are willing to work less and sacrifice some of their nurse practitioner paycheck to have an overall more fulfilling life. 

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2. Flexible Working Arrangements

Flexible working arrangements such as clocking in from home or the ability to work unconventional hours provided the job gets done are increasingly accepted in the workplace. While nurse practitioners are in patient facing roles limiting the utility of flexible work arrangements, there are still some innovative practice models on the horizon. Telehealth platforms make it possible for NPs to interact with patients remotely. In coming years, treating patients from your laptop just might be all the rage. These kinds of trends allows nurse practitioners more flexibility in how they interact with patients to earn a living. 

3. Talk it Out

Healthcare privacy laws like HIPAA make it tough for the healthcare community to keep up with communication trends in patient-provider interactions. Millennials, however are used to innovative and immediate communication and are already seeking solutions to this problem. Apps that allow patient-provider texting, for example, are likely to take root along with tools for helping providers get in touch to consult with each other more conveniently than over email or phone.  

4. Instant Access to Information

Millennials are digital natives, individuals brought up with computers and the internet from an early age. They’re used to accessing information whenever and whenever they want it. Expect healthcare companies to respond to this need among both patients and providers. Platforms that allow patients to view test results or that allow providers to view patient information more readily or on-the-go will increase in popularity as millennials apply technology to healthcare. 

5. Blurred Lines

Collaboration and teamwork are highly valued in the millennial world. Individuals in this generation prefer to work at companies such as Google, known for their corporate climate. Traditionally, healthcare is hierarchical. Expect these traditional organizational lines to become blurred as millennials become more established. A flow of knowledge and teamwork among the ranks rather than formal titles fosters the development of cooperative workplace cultures. Such environments bring greater levels of collaboration to the nurse practitioner role.

How do you expect millennials to impact the nurse practitioner profession?


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