What Are The Least Stressful Nursing Jobs? 9 Roles To Consider (2023)

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Nursing has never been easy, but it’s become even more challenging in recent years. Faced with long hours, staff shortages and hectic environments, a majority of nurses report feeling burned out. These issues were exacerbated by COVID-19, which caused the nursing workforce to shrink, according to the Journal of Nursing Regulation.

There are many career paths for nurses who don’t want to leave nursing, but prefer a more relaxed environment. Jobs removed from emergency settings, such as administration, research and technology roles, offer more consistent hours and less intense situations. Read on to learn more about the least stressful nursing jobs.

What Makes Nursing a Stressful Career?

Making a difference—and saving lives—is rewarding. But even the most meaningful roles can lead to burnout. Nurses working the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic faced significant burnout, the Indian Journal of Critical Care Medicine reported. Contributing factors included fear, isolation and even the physical stress of wearing PPE.

Resilience is one of the key qualities for nurses, but job stress leads to deteriorated mental health. A stressful work environment bleeds over into nurses’ personal lives, which can even have adverse effects on patient care, according to BMC Nursing.

Many RNs exited their roles during the “Great Resignation,” and the turnover rate remains high. Turnover among registered nurses was 22.5% in 2022, a NSI Nursing Solutions, Inc. study found. That level of turnover creates its own challenges, like staffing shortages, training costs and a tumultuous work environment.

Fast-Paced Work

Due to budget constraints and higher demand for services, hospitals are facing pressure to perform care at a faster pace. Nurses in faster-paced environments report higher levels of stress, burnout and dissatisfaction with their workplace culture, a PLoS One study found.

(Video) TOP 5 Least Stressful Nursing Jobs in 2022

Feeling Underappreciated

A majority of nurses reported an increased workload during COVID-19, according to a study in the Journal of Nursing Regulation. More than 50% of nurses reported feeling “emotionally drained” and “used up” at least a few times per week. Younger, less experienced nurses felt the most burned out.

Insufficient Training

The pandemic also interrupted up-and-coming nurses’ ability to learn. Instead of getting the hands-on training they needed, nursing students had to adapt to online learning. That transition meant losing valuable campus resources and lab time, a study published in Academic Medicine found. After graduating, new nurses were expected to keep up, even without the full nursing school experience.

Long Shifts

Nurses work in 8-, 10- and 12-hour shifts. Everyone has their own schedule preferences, but the hours can be grueling, especially for nurses working overnight or weekend shifts to provide around-the-clock care. Many nurses take on overtime—or even a second job—which contributes to longer workweeks.

A Nursing Times study found that working overtime is negatively associated with good nursing practices. Nurses who worked overtime on their last shift were more likely to report loss of information during shift changes, less time to discuss care problems and less time for personal development.

Physical Exertion

Nursing is mentally exhausting, but the physical aspect is often overlooked. In addition to long hours, bedside nurses spend a lot of their shift standing and walking. They may also have to lift and physically support their patients.

Staffing Shortages

High levels of resignation and turnover have left already-strained facilities with a shortage of nurses. The RN vacancy rate is a critical 15.7% nationally, NSI Nursing Solutions, Inc., reports. This cycle of burnout means that stressed nurses are spread even thinner with extra shifts and higher patient loads.

Unpredictable Schedules

Hospitals that provide 24-hour care need nurses at all times, even if someone calls in sick or schedules a vacation. Nurses may have to unexpectedly cover a shift, and many work holidays, nights and weekends.

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What Does a Low-Stress Nursing Job Entail?

It’s important that nurses can effectively perform their jobs and provide the best level of care. According to the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, healthy work environments foster good communication and collaboration. The best workplaces recognize the value of their employees and make them feel appreciated.

Nurses have the right to feel safe, receive fair compensation and advocate for their patients and themselves, the American Nurses Association (ANA) says. The ANA also emphasizes that nurses should be able to negotiate fair wages, consistent work schedules and performance evaluation standards.

9 Least Stressful Nursing Jobs

Experiencing burnout doesn’t mean that nurses are ready to leave the field. In a Nursing CE Central study, 28% of surveyed nurses were actively looking for a low-stress nursing job. Options include administrative, advanced and non-emergency roles.

Salary information in this section is collected from Payscale and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Case Management Nurse

Average Annual Salary: $77,104
Job Overview: This role involves a lot of communication and collaboration. According to the American Case Management Association, case managers advocate for patients and coordinate their care between different services, specialists and locations. They are especially critical for patients who have underlying health conditions that would affect their treatment, such as diabetes or heart disease. This position has more predictable hours and is less strenuous than bedside nursing.

Home Health Nurse

Average Annual Salary: $78,190
Job Overview: Home health nurses work one-on-one with patients in their homes—which can be a lot more relaxed than a fast-paced hospital environment. Patients include people who are elderly, disabled or adjusting to motherhood. They get the chance to build long-lasting relationships in a slower-paced setting.

Nurse Administrator

Average Annual Salary: $90,577
Job Overview: RNs who have a bachelor’s degree in nursing and strong management skills may be well-suited for nurse administrator roles. These senior-level nurses oversee a team and perform regular management responsibilities like hiring, training and performance reviews. Nurse administrators work in offices, usually with regular hours, and earn a competitive salary as higher-ranking employees.

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Nurse Educator

Average Annual Salary: $77,440
Job Overview: Nurse educators work in faculty positions at nursing schools and teaching hospitals. Educators are registered nurses who have at least a master’s degree. Teaching is a great option for registered nurses with experience and good people skills. Since the job involves training up-and-coming nurses, rather than working with patients directly, the day-to-day tasks are much less hectic.

Nurse Informaticist

Average Annual Salary: $82,875
Job Overview: Nursing informatics integrates technology into health care. Nurse informaticists may report to IT or nursing departments. Among other responsibilities, they manage and communicate data, create a smooth transition to electronic health records, optimize workflows and develop and improve information technology systems. RNs with an interest in technology and computer science could find a fulfilling career removed from the intensity of hands-on patient care.

Office Nurse

Average Annual Salary: $73,860
Job Overview: Office nurses work in doctor’s offices or clinics. They are the first people patients interact with; they gather information about patients’ needs and histories and perform minor medical care, such as administering vaccines. Clinics often have set hours and provide routine, non-emergency care, which makes this a more sustainable environment for many nurses.

Public Health Nurse

Average Annual Salary: $69,104
Job Overview: Public health nurses combine their nursing experience with an understanding of social issues to serve their communities. Employers include community health clinics, health departments and nonprofit organizations. Some public health nurses perform patient care, but the role is often focused on creating health education programs and advocating for policy change.

Research Nurse

Average Annual Salary: $73,510
Job Overview: RNs who want to impact public health on a larger scale should consider becoming research nurses. They are a vital part of medical research, including developing studies, monitoring clinical trials and writing grants. This advanced career path is open to RNs with a master’s or doctorate degree and experience in clinical research.

School Nurse

Average Annual Salary: $50,587
Job Overview: School nurses are often the only health care professional in their workplace, so a wide range of responsibilities fall to them. These may include performing CPR in an emergency, providing education about sexual health, starting school wide initiatives and working with parents of children with chronic health conditions. School nurses enjoy limited hours and the opportunity to help students succeed in their education.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Low-Stress Nursing Jobs

What type of nurse is the least stressful?

The least stressful nursing jobs are in non-emergency environments. Registered nurses can work in administrative, technology or research roles, which have more consistent hours and possibly better pay.

What is the easiest job for an RN?

Working as an office nurse is one of the most relaxed options for RNs. Office nurses work in clinics with set hours, and provide basic, non-emergency medical care.

What is the easiest nursing job that pays well?

One of the highest-paying nursing positions is nurse administrator. These managers are responsible for hiring, training and evaluating their team of nurses. Nurse administrators make $90,577 per year.

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(Video) Top 10 Easiest Nursing jobs with less stress and high payout | easiest nursing positions


What Are The Least Stressful Nursing Jobs? 9 Roles To Consider? ›

Institutional Nurses

These nurses administer more basic care and typically don't have to work long hours and overnight shifts, so this field of nursing tends to be low-stress. Even with less excitement, these nurses find fulfillment in providing basic and family care to those in need.

What is the least stressful type of nurse? ›

Institutional Nurses

These nurses administer more basic care and typically don't have to work long hours and overnight shifts, so this field of nursing tends to be low-stress. Even with less excitement, these nurses find fulfillment in providing basic and family care to those in need.

What is the easiest career in nursing? ›

  1. Pre-op Nurse. About the Job: ...
  2. Travel Nurse. About the Job: ...
  3. School Nurse. About the Job: ...
  4. Occupational Health. About the Job: ...
  5. Assisted Living Facility. About the Job: ...
  6. Post-op Nurse. About the Job: ...
  7. Research Nurse. About the Job: ...
  8. Home Health RN. About the Job:

What is the most stressful job for nursing? ›

The most stressful nursing jobs include ICU nurse, ER nurse, and NICU nurse. In these roles, nurses work in an intense environment with high stakes. They manage emergency situations and care for critically ill patients. Other stressful nursing jobs include OR nursing, oncology nursing, and psychiatric nursing.

Which field of nursing has the highest burnout rate? ›

Critical care nurses suffer the highest rates of burnout.

This is mainly due to the nature of the job, as critical care nurses work specialize in the emergency department (ED) and intensive care unit (ICU). As such, their work environment is constantly fast-paced, meticulous, and demanding.

What medical field is the least stressful? ›

13 high-paying low-stress medical careers
  • Chiropractor.
  • Audiologist.
  • Surgical technician.
  • Occupational therapist.
  • Physical therapist.
  • Biomedical engineer.
  • Dental hygienist.
  • Radiation therapist.
Feb 20, 2023

What is the lowest paying RN job? ›

Licensed vocational nurses (LVN) and licensed practical nurses (LPN) are some of the lowest-paid nursing roles, but that is due to the fact that the educational requirements are less than most other types of nurses.

What is the hardest job as a nurse? ›

Psychiatric Nursing

According to studies, almost all nurses (88.6%) experienced verbal violence and more than half (56.1%) experienced physical violence. The threat of physical and verbal violence alone makes this particular job stressful.

Is nursing a good career for introverts? ›

Can an Introvert Be a Nurse? Introverts can pursue a career in nursing. Whether you're a registered nurse (RN), licensed practical nurse (LPN), or certified nursing assistant (CNA), you'll be well-positioned to apply the skills and character traits you have as an introvert to your everyday work.

Is Med Surg harder than ICU? ›

Medical-surgical nursing she summarized, is so much harder than critical care nursing. This is exacerbated by these nurses having at least twice if not more patients they must care for in a shift than ICU nurses have.

Why is nursing a high stress job? ›

Nursing is known as a stressful job since it is associated with complex job demands and needs, and high expectations, excessive responsibility, and minimal authority have been identified as the main stressors [6].

What type of nurse is most in demand? ›

BSN-prepared nurses are the most sought-after RNs in the job market and can advance to leadership and management roles more quickly than the ASN nurse.
2. Registered nurse (RN)
EducationASN (required) or BSN (recommended)
CertificationsMust pass the NCLEX-RN exam
1 more row

What age do most nurses retire? ›

At What Age Do Most Nurses Retire?
  • 7% of both women and men retired at age 63.
  • 8% of women and 7% of men retired at age 64.
  • 11% of women and 13% of men retired at age 69.
  • 9% of women and 6% of men retired at the age of 70 or beyond.
Aug 4, 2022

What are the top 3 causes of nurse burnout? ›

Some of the most common reasons for nurse burnout include long work hours, sleep deprivation, a high-stress work environment, lack of support, and emotional strain from patient care.

What is the simplest medical career? ›

What Is The Easiest Medical Job?
  • Medical Secretary.
  • Caregiver.
  • Medical assistant.
  • Medical biller.
  • Pharmacy technician.
  • Phlebotomist.
  • Phlebotomy technician.
  • Medical transcriptionist.
Feb 21, 2023

What jobs are considered the least stressful? ›

  • 14 Low-Stress Jobs.
  • Data Scientist.
  • Dietitian.
  • Medical Records Technician.
  • Massage Therapist.
  • Appliance Repairer.
  • Librarian.
  • Diagnostic Medical Stenographer.

What is the happiest career in the medical field? ›

Top Happiest Jobs in the Medical Field
  • Nurse. Nurses have many job specifications ranging from carer for patients, administration of drugs, cleaning beds, and much more. ...
  • Optometrist. ...
  • Respiratory Therapist. ...
  • Speech-Language Pathologist. ...
  • Dentist. ...
  • Nutritionist/Dietician. ...
  • Pediatrician. ...
  • Psychiatrist.

What is the best paid nurse? ›

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) earn a nationwide average of $202,470 per year according to the BLS; this makes CRNAs the highest-paying type nursing job by a significant margin.

Who hires the most nurses? ›

Industry profile for Registered Nurses:
IndustryEmployment (1)Percent of industry employment
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals1,724,51030.85
Offices of Physicians208,7607.50
Home Health Care Services173,64011.31
Outpatient Care Centers152,12014.87
1 more row

How can a nurse be less stressed? ›

Tips for Managing Nurse Stress
  1. Manage your diet. ...
  2. Get plenty of sleep. ...
  3. Exercise and stretch. ...
  4. Practice meditation, mindfulness, or yoga. ...
  5. Unwind by pursuing hobbies. ...
  6. Share your feelings. ...
  7. Many people find that recording their thoughts and feelings helps clear their mind.
  8. Limit exposure to media, particularly social media.
Jul 31, 2020

What is the most basic type of nurse? ›

1. Licensed practical nurse (LPN) Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) work closely with registered nurses (RNs) and physicians to provide patients with basic nursing care.

What are the hardest nursing class? ›

Hardest Nursing School Classes
  • Pathophysiology. In this course, students learn how different anatomical systems work and how diseases or injuries affect these systems. ...
  • Pharmacology. ...
  • Medical Surgical 1 (also known as Adult Health 1) ...
  • Evidence-Based Practice.

Can I be a quiet nurse? ›

In conclusion, you can absolutely be a successful nurse and still be shy. Over time, your shyness will melt away and you will feel much more comfortable. It will be similar to how you feel now in high school (minus public speaking projects).


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