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Exploring generational cohort work satisfaction in hospital nurses

Pamela Ann Gordon (University of Phoenix, Tempe, Arizona, USA)

Leadership in Health Services

ISSN: 1751-1879

Article publication date: 3 July 2017




Although extensive research exists regarding job satisfaction, many previous studies used a more restrictive, quantitative methodology. The purpose of this qualitative study is to capture the perceptions of hospital nurses within generational cohorts regarding their work satisfaction.


A preliminary qualitative, phenomenological study design explored hospital nurses’ work satisfaction within generational cohorts – Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1980) and Millennials (1981-2000). A South Florida hospital provided the venue for the research. In all, 15 full-time staff nurses, segmented into generational cohorts, participated in personal interviews to determine themes related to seven established factors of work satisfaction: pay, autonomy, task requirements, administration, doctor–nurse relationship, interaction and professional status.


An analysis of the transcribed interviews confirmed the importance of the seven factors of job satisfaction. Similarities and differences between the generational cohorts related to a combination of stages of life and generational attributes.

Practical implications

The results of any qualitative research relate only to the specific venue studied and are not generalizable. However, the information gleaned from this study is transferable and other organizations are encouraged to conduct their own research and compare the results.


This study is unique, as the seven factors from an extensively used and highly respected quantitative research instrument were applied as the basis for this qualitative inquiry into generational cohort job satisfaction in a hospital setting.



Gordon, P.A. (2017), "Exploring generational cohort work satisfaction in hospital nurses", Leadership in Health Services, Vol. 30 No. 3, pp. 233-248.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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