generational traits, multigenerational teams, multigenerational workforce, nurse manager



  1. Palese, Alvisa BCN, RN, DDSI, DNursing
  2. Pantali, Giuliana MSN, RN
  3. Saiani, Luisa RN, DDSI


Retiring age is no longer fixed at 39 years of working service by Italian law, so nurses with more than 40 years of service continue to work in the wards, creating a distinct older generation. Moreover, with the closure of nursing colleges and the introduction of university degree courses for nurses, nursing education has changed significantly. This article reports on a study which explored the experiences of chief nurses in the daily management of nursing teams composed of multigenerational nurses who differed in age and qualifications. Husserls' phenomenologic approach was used, interviewing at length a purposeful sample of 10 chief nurses. Five main areas of concern emerged: (a) The generation gaps between peers and team leaders; (b) nomadism versus being settled; (c) conflicting methods of working which result in nothing being accomplished: managing the "flat paradox"; (d) different nursing values, ideals, and visions; and (e) existing generation gaps with the younger staff. The number of younger nurses will increase with time and, as a consequence, the relevance of intergenerational differences must be seriously debated, not only difficulties with age differences but also those relating to nursing education.