Census statistics suggest that millennials represent 30% of the current workforce, having surpassed the number of workers from the generation before them and the baby boomer generation. Millennials in the workplace are a unique cohort.
They are highly mobile, transition easily, and do not remain in one place for very long. As a young generation, regardless of their economic status, they are not owning cars or homes as early as their predecessor generations. They also don’t commit themselves as members of associations or societies, and thus most medical societies are seeing reduced membership numbers across the board. Among the total number of practicing physicians, 15% to 20% are age 35 or younger. What do they want or need from medical associations, and how can SCA thwart this millennial trend? The SCA mission of excellence in patient care through education and research must be maintained as we transition to millennial medical education.
I mean no disrespect in using the term “millennial.” Millennials do not have character flaws; they are not “lazy,” “entitled,” or “self-centric,” despite what their teachers say. The 20s and 30s generation are simply a product of the environment in which they were raised. In an era in which technology dominates, and communication is electronic and instantaneous, our younger generation of physicians have never had to wait for information or feedback. The vast World Wide Web is immediately available at their fingertips, and they can transition tasks effortlessly with a form of multitasking that resembles an attention deficit disorder.
They are accustomed to learning in a completely different manner than we “boomers” are accustomed to teaching. They also are physicians who are focused on the “work-life balance,” not a “marriage to medicine.” Because most of their relationships are strengthened through technology rather than face-to-face, millennial patient encounters and student-teacher encounters seem “different.” SCA recognizes these differences and has started to build new educational platforms and to offer member benefits that will aim to appeal to both the older and the younger generation of cardiothoracic anesthesiologists. A few examples of this include the following: Our website upgrade, under the leadership of Dr. Lou Mitrev, will contain newer search strategies that will link more directly to content-rich websites, and will resemble the one-click shopping trademarked by Amazon. And the fellowship education portion of the website, headed by Dr. Nathaen Weitzel, will transition from long lectures to short podcasts that feature interactive learning environments with audiovisual supplementation.
Panels at SCA face-to-face meetings are increasingly interactive in nature, and “lectures” have been shortened to a degree that is akin to a “rapid-fire” format. Electronic evaluations of the meeting will be available onsite immediately after the session so that feedback and CME credit can occur in real time. In addition, online educational opportunities will complement the already robust in-person educational programs offered by the Society. Our Annual Meeting Program Chairs Drs. Amanda Fox, Michael Eaton, and Sasha Shilcutt have already taken it out of the box and created a contemporary meeting for all ages: “Gen W, X, and Y”! Don’t miss our major flagship educational offering in Orlando, FL, April 21–26.
I look forward to seeing you there.
For more information on the SCA Annual Meeting and Workshops, and to register, visit scahq.org/2017AnnualMeeting.
Linda Shore-Lesserson, MD