Managing intergenerational differences in academic anesthesiology

Robert E. Shangraw, Charles W. Whitten

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Common definitions for workplace generations are the silent generation (born 1925-1945), the baby boomer generation (1946-1962), generation X (1963-1981), and generation Y (1982-2000). Distinct motivational and value perceptions stereotype generations. This review defines the characteristics of workplace generations today and provides insight into how differences influence the workplace environment. RECENT FINDINGS: Senior faculty members are mostly boomers, whereas residents and junior faculty members tend to belong to generation X. Medical students and incoming interns are from generation Y. When compared with boomers, generation X is more savvy with technology, more independent, less loyal to the institution, and seeks balance between work and lifestyle. The 80-h resident working week restriction has reinforced differences between older and younger physicians. Generation Y exhibits traits that are similar to those of generation X. Their increased interest in anesthesiology may reflect, in part, their assumption that it affords better control of lifestyle. SUMMARY: Understanding, improved communication strategies, mentorship, and flexibility in methods employed to achieve common goals are most likely to capture the interest and cooperation of members of generation X and possibly Y. Future studies should test effects of particular interventions on outcome in terms of recruitment and performance milestones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)558-563
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent opinion in anaesthesiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2007


  • Generation gap
  • Medical education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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