Sunday, March 29, 2009

Millennium Generation in Health Care

For the past few months, I have heard more references to the Millennium Generation than I had in the last year. In giving workshops on teaching techniques, the subject has come up. At a recent meeting, a respected leader asked whether the incentive packages needed to be changed to factor in the values of the Millennium Generation. So being the dutiful “baby boomer” that I am, I felt the responsibility to learn more (and bring you all in on the lesson).

The Millennium Generation or Generation Y (approx. 1980 – 2000) are just entering our graduate schools, medical schools and residencies and they are making an impact. According to experts, we can expect a different set of values and expectations from this group of young people and potential conflict with older “baby booming” authority figures.

Some of the common characteristics of the Millennium Generation noted by observers are:

  • Tech savvy – They grew up with computers and relate to the world through technology. This characteristic can also lead to the tendency to be impatient and expect instant gratification
  • Image driven, sometimes called “trophy children”. They grew up being told they were “special”. This belief can sometimes lead to a false sense of entitlement.
  • Value personal time and time for family, they believe they should be able to “have it all”
  • Efficient multi-taskers (see tech savvy)
  • Adaptable. Some attribute this to their early entry into “day care”, “early team sports” and doting parents who included children in all types of activities and travel. Whatever the reason, the Generation “Y”ers believe they can “get it done”

Do we change the system to adapt to this new generation? Or should we change at all?

What kind of educational systems will appeal to the best and brightest of this generation?

Have any of you thought this through?

Have you noted any differences in the last few classes that have entered your graduate schools, medical schools or residency programs? Or is this all "psycho-babble"?

Do you have any advice for the rest of us? We would love to hear what you think!


Anonymous said...

I am old, I am unlikely to change my values to match those of an incoming class of residents. I don't know if this incoming generation has a better idea, or if we are just making excuses for a group of young people who have been indulged their whole life and now expect the same indulgence in their training. I can't deal with a "generation". What I deal with is individuals. I try to be open to each one and share what I know. It seems to work pretty well for me.

Neil said...

Change is the only constant. I don't think we have much of an option. The world is changing around us.

Take are look at
1. AcademicEarth

2. Ted talks

There are other examples - e.g.
1. iTunes University

There is a process of democratisation of education underway.

Vodcasts and podcasts from reputed educators from great instutions are all becoming available online.

There is data that listening to these is more effective for imprating information than attending live lectues.

If you are concerned about the passive nature of this education - look at a study with learners creating podcasts and sharing them.

These are great times and the surf's up -- just bring your boards!

Neil said...

Forgot to post this link from CNN.

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate your listing of characteristics of the Millennium Generation, as I haven't thought about it much (even while raising my own children). I don't really believe in changing basic values or concepts for a specific audience/generation. I have however thought about more focused instruction as the idea of self-directed learning seems at times foreign to them. Perhaps it's as you pointed out - today's learners are multi-tasking (not necessarily more efficent though) if they're not actively involved in their learning process. So more power to interactive learning strategies!

Steve said...

So, If I understand this concept, each generation has certain characteristics based on how they were raised and the times in which they were raised (boomers post WW2) Although the "times" would be somewhat universal, certainly how they were raised would be dependant on their SES, religion, ethnic group. Are Millennium Geners really only a "middle class" phenomena?

Anonymous said...

There are many good points in your discussion. It is true that many of them know more about technology than we do. That is very different from the Boomers' experience when we believed our teachers were always more knowledgeable.Yes we sometimes are afraid of what we haven't tried but that doesn't mean it lacks value.Many Boomers are so overstretched (work longer hours than any other generation)that they don't have time to learn every new modality as it comes along.In truth most parents who love their children tell them they can become anything they want to be if they try hard enough.Help your children find success in what they do, bring home the trophies (even the lower SES, Steve, value that). The traditionalists after WWII saw the world as opening up as opposed to their parents who were more isolationist. When the traditionalists told their Boomer children to follow the American Dream, they did.They didn't tell them they would make up the difference for them. They said if you want to drive a car, get out there and earn. Pay for your college with work, through the armed services, athletic scholarships or whatever.Boomers, as we recall thought I parents had it wrong and we were going to correct that. We would be more supportive, encouraging, and generous to our kids. (Oh my did we overshoot?)We told them, along with Mr. Rogers that they were special and we winners in our eyes. We did not let them fall down or at least very far. They love us and don't see a need to leave home when the world is more hostile, especially now. Boomers, hold up your hands if you paid for their college or an old car or....We can teach them different values perhaps but we have to assume some responsibility for how things are and realize, there won't be a quick fix.

If many older docs had balanced our lives a bit better, maybe the younger group would not be so fearful they will lose any free time. We haven't always modelled that extremely well.

What the younger generation includes are optimistic, high achieving (ask the Admissions Committee, goal oriented, tolerant of diversity, and world savvy. They may have other negatives but there are positives too.

Currently they are just beginning to figure out there may not be jobs for everyone and parents may not always be able to help them out. Many still have yet to learn that, Those who have figured it out are trying to learn more about fitting in with other generations. They can be good peacemakers. The latchkey kids between the millennials and boomers are more suspicious and generally less bubbly.We all have to learn to rely on each other. As the boomers finally retire (if they can afford it), others will take over. They have to...Bridging these differences can actually be exciting. At CCLCM, we have actually be doing this in some very noticeable ways.For example we have a dress code and attendance policy. Some of you may know these are as scare as hens' teeth during the first 2 years of most schools.They are not perfect but most of our students are very accepting of them once they understand why.We do mentor them a lot which millennials want and appreciate. I think we see how hard they are trying.In part this is for us, "the second parents".Those presentations, publications, residency matches don't come from the grades we give them (not)but rather from what we are teaching them about success. They are hard workers.Actually putting in more time and effort than students in most other schools.Last year HHMI(NIH-Cloisters) had more CCLCM students than any other school. It looks like it will be the same this year.

There are some amazing stories outside of medicine (Best Buy and Estee Lauder for example)where millennials are credited for saving the day with creation of a new portal, using Facebook, Linked in and others to sell products.

The bottom line is that the average doctor, nurse, and many other professions...We're getting older. People have to save, work more years, bring in younger ones. Our job to coach, mentor, talk about our values, let them teach us technology, keep all engaged as best we can. Not a WOMBAT ( We don't want to be that ...Waste of Money Brains and Talent) Have fun!

Anonymous said...

Millennials are nothing like us (the Boomer or Gen-X). They are goal-directed and feel pressure to perform in prescribed or structured ways, not necessarily demanding or expecting thethe easy ways, though. They have special desires and requirements -- remain close to roots, stay connected and network constantly with friends, colleagues, mentors. Because of their confidence about their futures and their networking/team abilities, they expect nothing less than constructive and immediate feedback. They want so much to succeed, to have things work, and work in their favor, that I think they actually fear defeat or failure. My generation was told to try and if you don't succeed the first go around, keep on trying. They hear a different message -- they are confident that will not fail even on the first try -- as long as everyone and everything else is doing their job and remains in its proper place.

Barbara Swimmer said...

I'm not so sure all these differences that are outlined are really about generational shifts in values. Youth is full of enthusiasm, age is full of caution. History proves that when you think you know the score, the rules of the game change.

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