Millennial Acute Care Rehabilitation Nurses Forming Transpersonal Caring Relationships With Patients

Problem: Millennial nurses are the largest proportion of the profession reporting burnout and compassion fatigue. The millennial generation was impacted by the explosion of technology in the late twentieth century. Constant technological stimulation heavily impacted developmental milestones.The millennial generation communicates through technology while performing more than one task in a short amount of time, known as multi-tasking.  With less time spent at the bedside due to increases in administrative tasks, deficits in the development of empathy and expression of compassion may impact the development of transpersonal caring relationships. Barriers to forming transpersonal caring relationships with patients may affect millennial nurses’ satisfaction with the nursing profession. Currently, there is a lack of knowledge about how millennial nurses connect with patients. 

Purpose: The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore and identify how millennial rehabilitation nurses develop transpersonal caring relationships with those for whom they care. Practical implications of this research include educational interventions developed by professional staff development specialists to bridge potential gaps in interpersonal communication skills in forming meaningful relationships with patients.  These findings potentially could lead to improved patient care, earlier detection of changes in a patient’s condition, improved patient satisfaction and improved retention of nursing staff. 

Significance: Millennial nurses are left unfilled when they can’t connect to patients. Research Question: What is the lived experience of millennial rehabilitation nurses connecting with patients?

Methodology:The phenomenological design of this study was chosen to explore the experience of what a transpersonal caring relationship means to nurses.  Identification of a detailed description of what connecting means to millennial nurses created a rich understanding of the complex dynamics of caring and the impact on nurses. 

Results: The themes that emerged were (1) Empty Inside; (2) Awkward: Unsure of How to Connect to Patients ; (3) Learned on the Job; (4) Disconnection; (5) Deep Connection: Rehabilitation Nurses Implications for Practice: Healthcare organizations must focus on teaching and assessing how nurses form caring connections with patients. Millennials are proficient at visual stimulation and filtering information but lack interpersonal communication skills and interpretation of body language.

Learning Objectives:

  • The learner will be able to verbalize the meaning of a transpersonal caring relationship.
  • The learner will be able to verbalize the dynamics of connection.
  • The learner will be able verbalize the purpose of the study.