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Internal stakeholder communication: exploring communication preferences of various generations of nursing staff at a central hospital in the Western Cape
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The context and background for this study is situated in a public healthcare organisation. Communication and corporate stakeholder management, both with external and internal stakeholders, always needs to be fast and effective in a hospital, because it is often under critical pressure and dealing with life and death. The central hospital that has been chosen as the research environment has been associated with excellence in medical achievements and tertiary training for the past eight decades. Yet, the nursing cohorts in the past were more homogenous; they underwent similar training and mostly operated like a well-oiled machine because of that inherent similarity. Ensuing from the South Africa's transition into a full democracy in 1994, the nursing components everywhere became more heterogeneous and dissimilar. The research problem in this study is focused on one diverse group of internal stakeholders: the all-important nursing component. The potential combination of four generations of nurses within healthcare institutions has attracted the attention of global academics and nursing specialists for some time now, who have focused on the ramifications that such a multi-generational staff creates in hospitals. Not only do these nurses have to interact effortlessly with each other in the interest of speed, service delivery and the satisfaction of the clients, being patients and their families, but also be assured of effective communication between themselves and management. Any brand, be it a governmental hospital, NGO or profit-driven company, is as successful as its effectiveness in terms of corporate internal communication. Should nurses sense that they do not share meaning effectively with others, the fallout may well be picked up by patients and their families, with resulting criticism from the community of the Western Cape Metro that accesses the hospital.