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The Impact of Generational Differences in Physical Therapy Practice

presented by Karen Mueller

Accreditation Check:

This course is part of our GCS Prep-Program. Learn more about the full prep-program here: MedBridge GCS Prep-Program.

How do generational differences impact our communication with colleagues and patients? How are these differences manifested in terms of patient/colleague perceptions, expectations and preferences? This course will explore the characteristics of the four generations comprising the current workforce; Veterans, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials. In addition we'll provide strategies to enhance effective communication with patients and colleagues from different generations.

Meet Your Instructor

  • Karen Mueller, PhD, DPT, PT

    Karen Mueller, PhD, DPT, PT is a professor of physical therapy at Northern Arizona University, where she has taught end of life concepts, professional communication, and mindfulness concepts since 1987. She is the co-founder and inaugural vice chair of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Oncology Section Hospice and Palliative Care Special Interest Group. Dr. Mueller has published and presented extensively on topics related to end of life, mindfulness, and professional communication. She is the author of Communication from the Inside Out: Strategies for the Engaged Professional (FA Davis, 2010).

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

Download Learning Objectives
  1. What Defines a Generation?

    1. What Defines a Generation?

    This chapter will explore the defining elements of a generation, describe the current workforce in terms of generational representation, and highlight current issues related to generational differences.

  2. Generational Theory

    2. Generational Theory

    After discussing the concepts of generational theory we'll explore Strauss and Howe’s concept of generational theory in terms of repeating seasons (saeculums), shifts within the seasons (turnings) and specific generational types within each turning (high, awakening, unraveling, crisis).

  3. Our Elders: The Veterans

    3. Our Elders: The Veterans

    We will describe the major social, political, and technological events of the Veterans generation. In addition, this chapter will describe the challenges and opportunities of working with Veterans as patients or colleagues.

  4. Transitioning to the Golden Years: The Boomers

    4. Transitioning to the Golden Years: The Boomers

    Dive into the major social, political, and technological events of the Baby Boom generation. In addition, this chapter will describe the challenges and opportunities of working with Boomers as patients or colleagues.

  5. Seeking Balance in Work and Life: Generation X

    5. Seeking Balance in Work and Life: Generation X

    Going through the years we'll discuss Generation X as youth, patients, and colleagues, and look at the challenges and gifts Generation X has. We'll review the major events that shaped them and the growth of the Physical Therapy Profession under Generation X: Birth of the Latchkey kid.

  6. The Connected Generation: Millennials

    6. The Connected Generation: Millennials

    Following Gen X, we’ll dive into the world of the “connected” generation: Millennials. The major events that shaped them, Millennial life, and the events during the time as Physical therapy professionals. Dr. Mueller will then have a one-on-one interview session with a millennial member to discuss generational differences and the gifts of being a part of this generation.

  7. Generational Themes for Consideration in the Workplace

    7. Generational Themes for Consideration in the Workplace

    We’ll wrap up this course with an overall summary of what to consider in the workplace when working with various generations. Dr. Mueller will also advise follow-up conflict scenarios for those of you viewing this course as an in service or those wanting a broader view and insight of different generations in clinical settings.