Bridging the Age Gap of Maternal/Child Healthcare Professionals and Patients – Part 1

Every generation brings something special to the table for the hospital and healthcare space. Millennials are influencing healthcare with a new lexicon – which is beginning to impact the expectations of systems designed to care for patients, caregivers and the diverse demands of their lives and families – while healthcare organizations are still being largely led by the Baby Boomer generation and their expectations, methods and processes and terms we’ve dragged along from the 70s and 80s. A huge consideration must be these two groups, Gen-X, millennials and soon to be Gen-Z are both our childbearing universe and the source of our staff and emerging leaders.

At the end of the day, there needs to be a mindful inclusion of all four generational groups – Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y and our still expanding Generation Z. Each of these age groups will see and perceive things differently; however, they all need to unify their vision for the benefit of the patient. Of course, this is the person who matters most when all is said and done, but in order to deliver the best care for patients, a cohesive and collaborative partnership must first be established. For the purposes of this article, we will be addressing the gaps that can be bridged between Baby Boomers and Generation X and Y ( known as the millennials).

• Information-Centricity: Millennials grew up in the technological age filled to the brim with information, which has fostered a yearning for more; meanwhile, the war and boomer generations grew up with industry, production and transactions. This generation has superior knowledge which can only be used effectively with the buy-in of the other groups. Women’s service leaders need to acknowledge that the younger generation collects information like the older cohorts collected G.I. Joes and Barbies.

• Communication Methods: Millennials also communicate and gather information over multiple channels and many sources. This is a key distinction. Most Baby Boomers started with AM radio, black and white TV and Elvis or the Beatles, Gen X had the Walkman with CDs, color TV and the Rolling Stones. Today, Millennials have smart phones stocked with apps and a wide spectrum of communication channels with utilities that weren’t even imagined a decade ago and lots and lots of information at their finger tips.

In part two of this series, we’ll dig down into three key areas that these differing generational groups must focus on to build and sustain cross-generational communication both inside and outside of the organization.

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