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NEW SURVEY: Different Career Stages in Nursing Mutually Agree Mentorship is Beneficial


SILVER SPRING, MD— Today the American Nurses Foundation (the Foundation), in partnership with McKinsey & Company, published the survey results of nearly 6,000 nurses which focused on their generational similarities and differences within their respective practice environments. Age demographics ranged from the Baby Boomer generation to Gen Z. The insights provided reveal that both early and advance tenured nurses work well to support each other, and both sides of the generational spectrum overwhelmingly desire more mentorship opportunities.  

What Early Career Nurses Are Saying
Given the complexities and challenges of the contemporary health care system, it’s pertinent to better understand team dynamics, develop solutions to improve nurse retention and ensure nurses are adequately supported in their careers. This latest survey denotes a positive shift toward collaboration within the health care work environment.

According to this survey, more than 80% of early-tenure nurses reported mid-tenure and most-tenured nurses were “great resources to learn from”. Although intent to leave remains somewhat high among younger nurses with less than half (45%) of early-tenure nurses saying they are at least somewhat likely to leave their current role in nursing, 75% of those nurses say they always or often enjoy working with more tenured nurses and 70% of them feel supported.

What Most-Tenured Career Nurses Are Saying
According to this latest report, mentorship and professional guidance may be rewarding opportunities to bring back nurses who took an early retirement during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as for a growing number of nurses reaching retirement age. Creating roles that honor their expertise and experience seem to be mutually beneficial. Nurses who are currently retired would consider rejoining the workforce if they were able to serve as a mentor to nurses (34%).

More than 75% of both mid-tenure and most-tenured nurses shared they enjoy working with their less experienced peers, and about half of these nurses say they get enough support from them when needed. Overall, they reported feeling hopeful, like a leader, and respected by early career nurses. However, some work environment challenges may need to be addressed before a potential mentorship program is implemented since over 1/3 of advanced career nurses reported they do not have the time or capacity to train and coach nurses. Additionally, they also indicated being exhausted and concerned, indicating they’re feeling a potential knowledge gap burden among their younger co-workers. However, across all career levels of nurses, there is a reported desire for a formal mentorship program within their workplace.

“Outstanding care is all about teams.  One of the ways we can address the nursing workplace shortage is to build on the strengths of each of the more than four generations we have working in health care today. Our survey highlights where younger and more experienced nurses can maximize their unique backgrounds, experience, and aspirations to make better teams that provide better care. We need to celebrate the diversity of what different generations bring and be more focused and intentional in supporting them in different ways,” said Executive Director and EVP of the American Nurses Foundation, Kate Judge.

This is the second publication from the research partnership between the American Nurses Foundation and McKinsey & Company. You can access the full Multigenerational Nurse Experience survey and report online.


About American Nurses Foundation
American Nurses Foundation is the charitable and philanthropic arm of the American Nurses Association (ANA), with the mission to transform the nation’s health through the power of nursing. The Foundation supports research, education, and scholarships, which improve health, wellness, and patient care. For more information visit

About McKinsey & Company
McKinsey is a global management consulting firm committed to helping organizations accelerate sustainable and inclusive growth. We work with clients across the private, public, and social sectors to solve complex problems and create positive change for all their stakeholders. We combine bold strategies and transformative technologies to help organizations innovate more sustainably, achieve lasting gains in performance, and build workforces that will thrive for this generation and the next.

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