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  1. Watters, Carol

Article Content

Kupperschmidt, B. R. (2006). Addressing multigenerational conflict:Mutual respect and carefronting as strategy. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 11(2), Manuscript 3. Retrieved January 31, 2007 from http://www.nursingworld.org/ojin/topic30/tpc30_3.htm.


Betty Kupperschmidt is a nurse educator who has written several articles about the diversity of multiple generations working in nursing. Her thesis in this article is that the concept of "carefronting," a term so named by Augsburger in 1973, can be a model for nurses working with different generations of colleagues. The concept of "carefronting," as described by Augsburger, means that nurses care enough to confront others in interpersonal relationships, thus making the work setting a respectful culture. Carefronting is a strategy that promotes open dialogue, not silent withdrawal in uncomfortable situations. Kupperschmidt believes failure to confront inappropriate behavior and communication from one generation to the other in the work arena promotes dishonest communication between generations, rendering the goals of the group ineffectual. For example, a traditional generation nurse, who feels a Generation X nurse is too assertive, needs to communicate his or her thoughts directly to the nurse and not passively dismiss the behavior as inappropriate, leading to a situation of horizontal violence. A concern expressed in the article is that Net Generation nurses (born 1981-2000), who were raised with technology and value "truth" as relative, may not stay in nursing because Net Generation nurses may see nursing as a job and not a profession. They feel that a profession is based on truth, but repeated negative comments from Boomers and Generation X nurses do not constitute professional behavior. If this concept is true, then the future of nursing for recruitment of Net Generation people into the profession may be bleak.


We all must respect, but not stereotype, the values of each generation. The challenge is to respect new perspectives about nursing and work together with colleagues who have different ideas and behavior than we do. Boomers can learn from Generation Xers that all work and no play is a good thing. This article closes with several suggested questions that can be used in interaction with different generations to tap into the resources from each generation and promote an open view to one's generational workforce.