Interacting with Multiple Generations

Diversity in ages can be enriching for patients and providers alike, but the potential for conflict between generations looms.

Risk Management

Interacting with Multiple Generations

Today, doctors in their 90s practice alongside people born in the 1990s. The differences between generations are not only apparent, they can cause conflict both with staff and patients.

For example, there are different perceptions about social media and what shouldn’t be posted. To older generations, it may seem like a no-brainer to keep their professional and personal life separate. However, some Millennials may disagree with this.

In addition, serious gaps in communication preferences emerge. Members of the Silent Generation tend to prefer traditional, hierarchical communication and meeting face-to-face. Boomers are relationship and team-oriented and generally prefer to establish a rapport in their interactions. Many Gen Xers prefer informal communication channels and may care little about building a rapport. Millennials often want instant communication and view collaboration as essential.

While this diversity can be enriching for patients and providers alike, the potential for conflict between generations looms. Consequently, doctors should consider this chart when handling everything from clinical practice ethics and standards to patient privacy.

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