Nursing is the perfect job for you in many ways. You get to help others and make a difference, all while setting a good example. But there comes a point for some nurses where the stress of the job becomes too much to handle.
While there’s no denying that nursing is not for the faint-of-heart, there are some nursing jobs that are less stressful than others. You can still utilize your medical skills to help people without the life-or-death situations and constant activity found in places such as the emergency room or critical care.
Whether your interests lay in the clinical side of nursing or the educational side, we rounded up a list of the least stressful nursing jobs. No more twelve hours of terror; enjoy these nursing jobs and find the career of your dreams!
8 (Nearly) stress-free nursing jobs
While there are no such thing as ‘easy nursing jobs’, there are a few that involve less of the high-pressure situations that most nurses encounter. Keep reading to learn about some of the options that might appeal to you.
1. Nurse educator
Nurse educators are medical professionals who train licensed nurses in continuing education and healthcare best practices. They may also work in degree programs, teaching aspiring nurses. It’s the perfect option for nurses who crave a less stressful environment but want to retain their medical training and stay on top of new developments in the healthcare world.
A nurse educator job might be right for you, even if you’ve never thought of yourself as a teacher. You can leverage your in-field experience to help prepare the next generation of nurses.
2. Nurse administrator
Nurse administrators still work in healthcare facilities, but they take a step back from the hustle and bustle of direct patient care. Instead, they spend their days “planning, directing and coordinating medical and health services,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Nurse administrators have the opportunity to work in calmer environments, such as group medical practices and nursing homes. Their job duties include organizing records, staying up-to-date on healthcare laws and regulations, creating schedules and managing patient billing and other finances.
3. Nurse researcher
Nurse researchers spend their days researching and analyzing data to compile reports that will help improve patient care across the board. These nurses are able to leave the hectic hospital scene behind while still knowing they’re making an impact on the healthcare industry as a whole.
“I find it very rewarding because I’m able to help the patient from a broader perspective,” says Jamie L. Williams, BSN, RN and clinical analyst at MD Buyline. The reduced stress of her nurse researching job has made a world of difference in her lifestyle.
“At the bedside, you never know what to expect next or what kind of workload you’ll have,” says Williams. “In this career, I can set my own pace. I know what to expect for the day.”
4. School or summer camp nurse
Nurses who love kids couldn’t ask for a better position. Schools and summer camps often hire RNs to provide basic care for their staff and students. These nurses can expect to handle basic first aid situations, as well as administer daily medication (such as allergy medicine).
These nurses are avoiding the hectic atmosphere of hospitals, but they’re still able to practice their medical skills in an energized environment. The ailments they treat are usually run-of-the-mill, so they’re also steering clear of stressful medical emergencies.
These nurses can expect more regular hours than a hospital nurse, and school nurses sometimes only work during the school year, meaning you get your summers off to enjoy!
5. Nurse blogger
While the odds off making a blog into a sustainable long-term income are pretty low, blogging can still be a great way for nurses to earn money. Nurse bloggers cover a gamut of topics for every stage of nursing. While it may take a few years to build a large following, nurse blogging can be very rewarding.
“I enjoy this work because it provides a lot of freedom while allowing me to make an impact on the nursing profession,” Brittney Wilson, RN and nurse blogger at The Nerdy Nurse, says.
Don’t expect to become an internet sensation overnight—nurse blogging takes time and patience to make into a full-time career. However, if you become a successful blogger, you can enjoy a low-stress job working from home while exerting your nursing knowledge and helping others.
6. Clinic nursing
Nurses can work in a variety of clinics, but one of the least stressful is in a physician’s office. Nurses who work in doctor’s office—think of a pediatrician’s office or family medicine—see a steady stream of patients every day. However, unlike hospital nursing which can be unpredictable and chaotic, clinics are scheduled in advance so you generally know what’s coming next.
Clinic nurses work to assess patients, administer medical tests such as drawing blood, and educate patients on a variety of health topics. They can be responsible for telephone triage, meaning they talk to patients on the phone answering any health questions and determining whether patients should be seen in the clinic or not.
Nurses who work in clinics generally make less than nurses who work in hospitals, but for some, the lower stress, more regular hours and holidays off are worth it.
7. Nurse informatics
For those nurses who don’t want a patient-facing role, but still want to be involved with patient health, a career in nursing informatics could be perfect. According to the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), nursing informatics is the combination of nursing science with technology science to promote patient health.
In short, informatics nurses use computers and data to help patients and healthcare workers provide the best care possible. Informatics nursing differs from high-stress, patient-facing nursing in that most of your work is on a computer. While the work may still have its stresses, Wilson puts a fine point on one major difference—no one dies in IT.
8. Case management nurses
Nurses who work in case management are responsible for long-term care of patients. They work with the same patients for long periods of time, allowing them to build relationships and invest in their patient’s care.
Case management nurses work with a plethora of people. Oftentimes their patients will suffer from long-term conditions such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer or AIDS. These nurses schedule doctor’s appointments, work with insurance companies and create care plans.
Prepare to stress less
Don't expect to find any 'easy' nursing jobs. But now you know being a nurse doesn’t have to mean working crazy hours and burning out under too much pressure. These least stressful nursing jobs prove that you can lead a less stressful life while still making a difference in people’s lives.
Your dream nursing job is out there—and it doesn’t necessarily have to be in a hectic hospital. Nursing is full of opportunities for not only every type of worker, but also every type of learner. Find out more about the different Nursing degree options available for every schedule.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published in September 2015. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2017. Insights from Williams remains from the original article.