Skip to main content

Millennial Nurses and Leadership

Millennials, the generation of people born between 1981 and 1997, are known for many things, including growing up with the internet and social media. The Pew Research Center reports that they are also the “largest living generation.” At almost 30 percent, Millennials (also known as Gen Y) make up a larger share of the U.S. population than any other generation.

Another noteworthy Millennial fact? According to the Brookings Institution, Millennials will make up as much as three quarters of the workforce by 2025. It is not surprising then, that the medical profession is taking a close look at Millennial nurses. Millennials are the future of nursing, and they will play a critical role in the profession’s leadership.

Many registered nurses (RNs) are working with an associate-level education. However, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is increasingly the minimum requirement. Advanced education is also essential for leadership roles in nursing. Northeastern State University (NSU) offers an online RN to BSN program with an emphasis on leadership and management. Millennial nurses graduating with BSNs will be well-positioned to advance their careers in patient care and leadership roles.

Who Are Millennial Nurses?

Inc. cites a study that identifies Millennials as a generation that “demands” work-life balance.

Millennial nurses are no exception. In “Moving Millennials Into Leadership Roles” (American Nurse Today), author and RN Stephanie M. Chung points out, “Today’s millennial nurse is more transient and seeks positions that offer work life balance and flexibility in schedules.”

Chung suggests “intergenerational cooperation” as one way to support job satisfaction. Having grown up with technology, for example, Millennial nurses can mentor less tech savvy colleagues to help them meet the demands of today’s changing healthcare setting.

What Do Millennial Nurses Want?

A 2017 Survey of Registered Nurses takes a look at the role of nursing in today’s healthcare organizations. Key findings point to a significant need for changes when it comes to leadership in the nursing profession, including where Millennials are concerned.

  • Results of the survey indicate that most RNs (82 percent) want to see more nurses in leadership positions. This includes executive roles. At the same time, a majority indicated they are not interested in taking on those leadership roles.
  • A different picture emerges when looking at the data across generations. Only 10 percent of Baby Boomer RNs indicated interest in leadership roles. This compares with 25 percent for Gen X nurses. The number stands even higher for Millennials, with 36 percent saying they would pursue leadership positions.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment for RNs is growing at a much faster rate than the average for all other occupations. With a projected increase of 438,100 jobs over the next decade, the job outlook for nursing is strong.

However, the 2017 RN survey points to some challenges for the profession, including those associated with leadership. Nearly half of RNs surveyed indicated that they either did not trust or were not sure they could trust their leaders.

With the Baby Boomer generation of RNs on their way to retirement, Millennials will increasingly dominate the nursing field. An RN to BSN program, like the one offered by Northeastern State University, can help this generation of nurses develop the skills and gain the knowledge they need to lead positive change in their profession.

Learn more about NSU’s online RN to BSN program.


Pew Research Center: Millennials Projected to Overtake Baby Boomers as America’s Largest Generation

Brookings: 11 Facts About the Millennial Generation

Inc.: This Is Why Millennials Care So Much About Work-Life Balance

American Nurse Today: Moving Millennials Into Leadership Roles 2017 Survey of Registered Nurses

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook

Related Articles

Our Commitment to Content Publishing Accuracy

Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only. The nature of the information in all of the articles is intended to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered.

The information contained within this site has been sourced and presented with reasonable care. If there are errors, please contact us by completing the form below.

Timeliness: Note that most articles published on this website remain on the website indefinitely. Only those articles that have been published within the most recent months may be considered timely. We do not remove articles regardless of the date of publication, as many, but not all, of our earlier articles may still have important relevance to some of our visitors. Use appropriate caution in acting on the information of any article.

Report inaccurate article content:


Submit this form, and an Enrollment Specialist will contact you to answer any questions.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Or call 844-351-6656

Dots graphic

Begin Application Process

Start your application today!
OR CALL 844-351-6656 844-351-6656

for help with any questions you have.

Dots graphic
  • Choose All That Apply