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Generational Differences in Work Ethic Among 3 Generations of Registered Nurses

Jobe, Laura L. PhD, BSN, RN

JONA: The Journal of Nursing Administration: May 2014 - Volume 44 - Issue 5 - p 303–308
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0000000000000071

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to understand if differences in dimensions of work ethic exist among 3 generations of nurses working in an inpatient setting at an acute care facility.

BACKGROUND: Generational differences are linked with increased turnover, with work ethic frequently cited as an important difference.

METHODS: The quantitative, quasi-experimental cross-sectional study recruited inpatient registered nurses from 2 teaching hospitals in a southern US metropolitan area to complete the Multidimensional Work Ethic Profile online.

RESULTS: The 285 completed surveys indicated that similarities exist among the 3 generations, with statistically significant differences only in leisure, hard work, and delay of gratification dimensions.

CONCLUSIONS: Understanding differences in work ethic dimensions could lead to strategies for improving the generational conflict. These results also lead to the conclusion that work ethic differences may not be the cause of the generational conflict among nurses.

Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text.

Author Affiliation: RN III, Special Staffing Team, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Little Rock.

The author declares no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Dr Jobe, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, 1 Children’s Way, Little Rock, AR 72202 (

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© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins