© 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd Aim: The purpose of this dimensional concept analysis was to identify preferences for favourable nursing work environments by Baby Boomer, Generation X and Millennial nurses. Background: Favourable nursing work environments have been associated with better nurse and patient outcomes. Researchers have reported differences among generations related to the work environment, but the extent to which there are differences in preferences, not just perceptions, is less certain. Method: A dimensional concept analysis was performed, in which one concept was analysed from multiple points of view. Articles were obtained from PubMed, CINAHL and PsycINFO. Articles published in the last ten years were included if they reported preferences, desires or ideals for the nursing work environment and were categorized by generational cohort. Eight articles qualified for review. Results: Four major themes were identified: nursing practice/unit characteristics, managers/leadership, team/professional interactions and pay/benefits. An additional theme of personal/self emerged among Millennials. Conclusions: All generations reported preferences related to benefits/pay, manager/leadership, nursing practice/unit characteristics and team/interactions. Only Millennials reported aspects related to self. Implications for nursing management: All generations desired the first four themes. To address each, nursing leaders should consider the following: (a) ensure adequate staffing and resources are in place for nursing staff; (b) obtain input from all generations about their level of satisfaction with benefits/pay and examine ways to provide better benefits or pay when possible; (c) encourage leadership self-development, such as educational opportunities and mentorship; and (d) determine opportunities to improve interactions among staff members. For Millennials, the only group who had expectations in the area of ‘self’, provide individualized attention and opportunities that allow them to create a better work–life balance, such as self-scheduling.