Understanding Generational Differences

1.0 Continuing Education Credit Hour

Category: Education Fundamentals

Being aware of and responsive to diversity in the workplace is a pre-requisite to creating a productive education and work environment. One aspect of this diversity is the presence of four distinct generations (Silent's or Veterans, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials) that comprise today's workforce. This module will review generational characteristics and values, and present practical solutions that address generational preferences, along with a framework for addressing the issues surrounding generational differences.


Jennifer Gilhooly, CPNP-R

Jennifer Gilhooly is a retired Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (CPNP) who has been involved with education through the OHSU School of Nursing since 1981 and the School of Medicine since 1994.  From 1998 through July 2010 Jenny co-directed the education of Pediatric and Internal Medicine Residents at Outside In, a community clinic which serves homeless youth.  Additionally, Jenny directed an advocacy and community health experience for the first year pediatric residents for 15 years and co-directed the Adolescent Health block rotation from 1996 to 2010.   Jenny was also involved with medical student education, precepting 4th year students at Outside In, and served as the co-faulty and visor for Club Peds, a pediatric interest group for medical students.  She has received multiple awards for her teaching, including the OHSU Department of Medicine Career Teaching Achievement Award.  Jenny received the 2010 Community Volunteer award from Self Enhancement Inc., an agency which serves African American youth.  She shares with her husband, Joseph Gilhooly, MD, an interest in generational differences and their impact on the academic and clinical medical practice environment.

Joseph Gilhooly, M.D.

Dr. Joseph Gilhooly received his medical degree from the University of Hawaii and completed his residency in pediatrics and fellowship in neonatal-perinatal medicine at Oregon Health and Science University.  Dr. Gilhooly is board certified in pediatrics and neonatal-perinatal medicine.  Dr. Gilhooly directed the Pediatric Residency Program at OHSU for 15 years until 2008 and subsequently was Vice Chair for Education.  He received the Parker J. Palmer Courage to Teach Award from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and the Robert S. Holm Leadership Award from the Association of Pediatric Program Directors in recognition of his outstanding leadership and mentoring in teaching.  He retired from practice in 2014 to focus on using a competency-based framework for medical education across the continuum.

Tracy Bumsted, M.D., MPH

Dr. Tracy Bumsted is a board-certified pediatrician and practicing pediatric hospitalist at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital/Oregon Health & Science University. She serves as ward attending on the inpatient pediatric and intermediate care units where she cares for children with a wide variety of conditions including those with special health care needs who are admitted to the children’s hospital. Dr. Bumsted received her MPH (1996) and medical degree (2000) from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, where she was named the “Most Outstanding Student in Pediatrics” by the faculty. Her academic role at OHSU focuses largely on medical student education, and she is the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education. In recognition of her contributions and leadership in undergraduate medical education, in 2008 she was given the OHSU Faculty Excellence in Education Award by the School of Medicine. In 2010, she was the first recipient of the Michael Miller Faculty Teaching Award in Pediatrics. Her creative and scholarly work has been in the area of generational differences within the typical academic medical center and ways to enhance the educational and work environment for learners and faculty of all generations. She has presented workshops at many local, regional, and national meetings on this topic, including pediatric clerkship directors (COMSEP), pediatric residency program directors (APPD), and the ACGME educational conference. 


  1. Describe the characteristics of the four generations in today's work force.
  2. List the generational values that create conflict in the education and work environments.
  3. Describe how generational values translate into how an individual functions in today's education and work environments.
  4. Identify ways to find the common ground between generations to create a more effective education environment within the healthcare center.
  5. Use your knowledge of generational differences to optimize collaboration, teamwork, and mentoring between faculty, staff, and learners.

Online Module

When completing the on-line module you will be presented with learning objectives, brief cases, questions for reflection (not scored), and interactive lessons with hyperlinks to engage you along the way. Once you complete the lessons, you will be presented with the Post Test (which requires a score of 80%) and then the Module Evaluation, followed by the opportunity to print your Continuing Education Certificate. Modules remain available for your future reference once you have completed them.