As America’s workforce ages and millions enter retirement age, Gen Z and Millennial nurses and healthcare professionals will become a majority of the healthcare workforce. In order to remain competitive and recruit top talent, healthcare facilities need to explore how to attract younger nurses and what younger workers are looking for in a career, how facilities can retain a younger workforce, and what makes them tick. 

Gen Z and Millennial Nurses 

Gen Z: 1997-2012

Millennials: 1981-1996

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2023, there were over 2M registered nurses from ages 16-44. (Note: The oldest Millennial in 2024 is 43, so there’s a bit of overlap between the youngest Gen X members and the oldest Millennial nurses.) 

As nurses in the Baby Boomer generation start to retire, maintaining a healthy, sustainable workforce will be crucial, especially in the midst of major staffing shortages. And, with high rates of burnout among younger nurses, working to attract younger nurses and retain Gen Z and Millennial workers is going to be important to keep facilities fully-staffed.

Burnout is prevalent among both Millennial and Gen Z generations. In a 2023 survey from the American Nurses Foundation, 69% of nurses 25 and under, 72% of nurses ages 25-34, and 64% of nurses ages 35-44 are experiencing some level of burnout. 

What’s causing Gen Z and Millennial Nurses to burn out?

The COVID-19 pandemic played a huge role in such high levels of burnout. New data from the American Nurses Foundation shares that younger nurses “were more likely to have experienced an extremely traumatic, disturbing, or stressful event due to COVID-19.”

On top of the stress from the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses are sharing that the top three reasons they’re burning out and leaving their jobs are because of staffing shortages, mental health and well-being, and/or lack of support from their employer.

The high rates of burnout are leading to more nurses leaving their jobs, causing even more staffing shortages. The burnout cycle continues, and facilities and staff are getting stretched thinner than ever. 

So how do facilities attract younger nurses and keep younger staff happy to decrease turnover rates? There many aspects that the younger generations of nurses value that facilities can implement to keep their workforce strong and help lower levels of burnout: 

1. Easy-to-use tech

Gen Z and Millennials were surrounded by technology from a very young age, so they’re used to using technology both in their day-to-day life and their work life. Using their favorite apps like Uber and AirBnB, they get the immediate satisfaction of booking a service. With apps like DoorDash and Instacart, they are used to getting paid within a few days for tasks they can accomplish quickly. They want easy-to-use technology that can help them quickly access jobs that work for them.

Plus, since Gen Z and Millennials are used to doing everything on their phones, they want the opportunity to utilize the technology at their fingertips in their work lives as well as their personal lives. With Medely, they can. Gen Z and Millennial nurses and health professionals can easily find shifts that work for them, book with the click of a button, clock in and out for their shifts, and get paid directly – all from their phones. Learn more about our network of over 300K nurses and health professionals that love using Medely. 

2. Flexibility 

Flexibility is extremely important to Gen Z and Millennial workers with a recent survey from Shiftboard stating that “55% of Gen Z and 51% of Millennials value having control over their work schedule.” 

Having a flexible schedule allows them to practice an excellent work-life balance, leading to better outcomes for burnout and high turnover rates. With flexibility in their work, they have the freedom to spend time with their friends and family, cultivate their personal hobbies, like cooking, meditation, exercise, or anything else they desire to pursue, and leave enough time to work on their mental health, another important element to Millennial and Gen Z workers. 

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3. Mental Health

Gen Z and Millennials are more focused than ever on protecting their mental health. In fact, “nearly half of Gen Zs and four in 10 Millennials say they feel stressed all or most of the time,” according to a survey from Deloitte. One of the ways that they can lower their stress levels is by having understanding employers and a flexible work schedule. 

By having the flexibility to change their schedule and work when it works for them, younger nurses and health professionals are able to schedule shifts around mental health days and have the opportunity to work when they feel the best and are able to give 100% to their job. Protecting their mental health is key to avoiding burnout, which can cause more staffing shortages, leaving an already understaffed floor even shorter. 

Platforms like Medely help make it possible and easier for nurses and health professionals to pick up per diem shifts and assignments so they can work on their schedule, leaving them plenty of time to take breaks so that they can be the healthiest, happiest version of themselves in the workplace, which ultimately leads to better patient care. 

4. Empowerment

Gen Z and Millennial nurses and health professionals want to feel empowered to run their own lives and not be tied down to an organization, which is why per diem nursing and travel nursing are attractive career options to younger nurses and health professionals. 

Travel nursing gained popularity during COVID-19 because of the high pay rates, but younger nurses and allied health professionals are still looking into travel nursing because of the freedom it offers them. It gives them the opportunity to explore a new city while getting paid, experience new facilities while learning new skills, meet new people across the country, and create a tight-knit community of other traveling nurses and health professionals, all while doing their dream job.

Picking up per diem shifts is also an appealing option for many Millennial and Gen Z nurses and health professionals. By picking up per diem shifts, they don’t have to be tied down to a full-time job or one organization. They can work at multiple hospitals, surgery centers, urgent cares, etc. in their area so they can experience new environments, new patients, and new coworkers.

Picking up per diem shifts also allows nurses and health professionals the opportunity to get paid faster and be more in control of their finances. With Medely’s multiple payouts per week, a nurse or health professional could pick up a shift on Monday and get paid as early as Wednesday. They’re able to see and use their money sooner and don’t have to crunch to make ends meet in between a two-week pay period, giving them more financial stability and freedom to feel empowered in their work and finances. 

5. Lifestyle

Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to pick up a side hustle to help them earn extra income to support their lifestyle and inflating costs of living. According to LendingTree, “55% of Gen Zers ages 18 to 26 and Millennials ages 27 to 42 have a side hustle.”

As inflation continues to rise, Gen Z and Millennial nurses are looking for ways to pick up extra shifts or make extra income on top of their full-time careers. So picking up shifts with an app like Medely can be extremely helpful for extra expenses, saving for a down payment on a house, paying for a life event like a wedding, making ends meet, or even just creating room in the budget for fun things that they might not be able to afford from only a full-time salary. 

With Medely’s option to see pay upfront, nurses and health professionals can search available shifts to find the best rates that work for them. If they’re going to spend the extra time picking up a shift, they want to make sure that it’s worth their time. 

Conclusion

No matter how you decide to attract younger nurses and health professionals, Medely can help you achieve your goals and create a career that works for your staff.

If you’re a nurse or health professional looking for shifts and assignments that work for your schedule, sign up for Medely today! 

Experiencing staffing shortages at your hospital, ambulatory surgery center, skilled nursing facility, urgent care, or assisted living facility? Find the best nurses and health professionals for your facility through Medely! Sign up here! 

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