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The quest for the least stressful nursing jobs is one that many nurses traverse at some point in their career. When you have high anxiety, having a low stress job can really make a big difference in the quality of life. Since I’m a nurse with high anxiety, I know what I’m talking about. Like many rankings, what is less stressful to you make be more stressful to someone else. So we’ve tried to include nursing jobs that generally are considered to be low stress by most nurses. These are the least stressful nursing jobs out there.
A low-stress nursing job – is there such a thing? Yes, there is. In fact, there are quite a few jobs out there that aren’t hectic or fast-paced. I found the least-stressful nursing jobs that you should consider in your job search. Many of these career paths are remote nursing jobs, outside of direct patient care, or are seasonable positions.
The Least Stressful Nursing Jobs
Being a nurse requires strong emotional intelligence and grit. Hospitals are often stressful environments for patients and nurses. Caring for the sick, injured, and impaired results in nursing encountering all kinds of people and situations – from the harsh to the gentle. If you are looking for a non-traditional nursing job that’s in a low-stress environment, try one of these.
One of the least stressful nursing jobs out there is teaching other nurses. This is a very reliable job with set hours. It doesn’t require caring for the critically ill or trying to explain complex medical treatments to family members.
Nurse educators work primarily in colleges or universities, teaching nursing students. It’s a very rewarding career because you get to train the next wave of nurses. You are investing in this field and helping to fight the nursing shortage.
My friend Kati Kleber, over at FreshRN is a master’s prepared nurse educator that developers nursing courses for new and transitioning nurses. She works as a nurse entrepreneur, meaning she works for herself, sets her own schedule, and sets her own priorities. In the summer she only works 2 days a week. Now that is low stress!
Another low-stress job is working on a cruise ship or at a vacation resort. They are literally working at vacation destinations. Cruise nurses usually work in clinic settings, treating minor things like sun exposure and small scrapes.
The only stressful thing about this job is the fact that you’ll be away from family members for a long period of time.
As the name implies, a nurse researcher acts as a scientist. They work primarily in a research lab in an academic setting. They conduct studies on illnesses by identifying patients as study participants.
A few other things they do include writing grant proposals, reporting results of studies, managing clinical trials, and writing research papers. Sometimes this work is done in hospital settings other times it’s done in academia or an administrative healthcare setting.
Some nurse researchers work for colleges, others for pharmaceutical companies.
Another one of the least stressful nursing jobs is a clinic nurse. Instead of working in a fast-paced setting with critically ill patients, a clinic nurse works in a physician’s office taking vitals and recording symptoms.
The job duties of a clinic nurse are reliably low-key. They educate patients, talk to patients over the phone, and doing the intake evaluation before the doctor sees them.
Summer Camp Nurses
If you don’t mind working during the summer, a camp nurse is another fun job that doesn’t come with a lot of stress. In addition to giving kids their daily medications, camp nurses also treat minor injuries.
The typical things a camp nurse might deal with include heat exhaustion, sunburn, sprained ankles, and bug bites.
This is seasonal work often done by school nurses or other nurses with summers off or flexible schedules.
I love nursing informatics. It pays really well and it’s a very in-demand job now that more hospitals and clinics are using computers and networks. Ths position goes by many names including:
This is the combination of nursing with information sciences. You care for patients by managing their electronic data.
It’s a low-stress job because they spend most of their time gathering and analyzing information. Informatics nurses typically don’t interact with patients very often. This means they don’t have to deal with death, dying, family members, doctors, and so on. My favorite part about becoming an informatics nurse is that nobody dies in IT.
Nurse administrators are essential leaders in healthcare organizations, responsible for ensuring efficient operations and quality patient care. This career choice allows nurses to utilize their clinical expertise and leadership skills to shape healthcare systems. It offers a less physically demanding work environment and the opportunity to make a significant impact through strategic planning and decision-making.
Typically, nurses in these positions have served many years on the floor and their experience makes them good advocates and decision makers for nurses and other clinical staff. This is a great position to pursue if you are interested in nursing leadership.
Public Health Nurses
Public health nurses (often called a community health nurse) work promote and protect the health of communities. They focus on preventing diseases, promoting healthy lifestyles, and addressing health disparities. With a primary emphasis on population-level care and health education, public health nurses often experience lower stress levels compared to other nursing specialties due to the nature of their work. They do not typically work in direct bedside care and their positions include a lot of data analysis and project management. They do get to make a big impact on many people, but many of those impacted don’t even know they exist.
Occupational Health Nurses
Occupational health nurses play a vital role in promoting workplace health and safety. They provide care and support to employees, focusing on preventing and managing basic care for work-related injuries and illnesses. Occupational health nurses collaborate with employers to develop and implement health programs, conduct assessments, and provide education and training. This career path offers a unique blend of nursing and occupational health expertise, allowing nurses to contribute to the well-being of individuals and communities in a work setting.
If you’ve ever heard of a business offering their employees free blood pressure checks, vital signs, or other medical services in their office or facility, this was likely performed by an occupational health nurse. Often these nurses are hired by insurance companies to conduct screenings that can help determine the cost of medical insurance for the employer.
Telephone Triage Nurse
Telephone triage nurses provide remote healthcare services and guidance over the phone. They assess patients’ symptoms, provide medical advice, and determine the appropriate level of care needed. These nurses play a critical role in ensuring timely and accurate healthcare access, particularly for non-emergency situations. With their strong communication and clinical skills, telephone triage nurses help patients navigate their healthcare needs, provide reassurance, and facilitate appropriate medical interventions.
If you’ve ever called the nurse line for your health insurance, you likely talked to a telephone triage nurse. Some emergency rooms will also have a telephone triage nurse you can call to help you determine whether you should visit the ER.
This is one form of telehealth nursing, so you might see this position referred to as as telehealth nurse.
Working in a public or private school as a school nurse is another one of the least stressful nursing jobs out there. The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) describes this job as:
A specialized nursing practice that advances the well being, academic success, lifelong achievement, and overall health of students.
The reason it’s such a low-stress job is because it’s not often that you will be making life and death decisions. Most of the job is spent educating students, giving medications, and treating minor injuries.
This job has certainly evolved throughout the years. School nurses act as counselors and educators too. They offer preventative services and even work with school administrators to create programs kids need.
School nursing is a great low stress nursing job for parents of school aged children or those who want the summers off.
Healthy Ways To Overcome Stress As a Nurse
Even the most chill and low-key jobs will have stressful days. Knowing how you react to stress and a few ways to respond to it in healthy ways will help you succeed no matter where you work.
Try one – or all – of these de-stressing techniques so you keep your cool and thrive.
Practice Deep Breathing
Often, stress affects our heart rate and releases the fight or flight chemicals in the brain. Deep breathing helps you regain control of your thoughts and your body. It literally releases the stress and helps you think clearly again.
The most effective type of deep breathing is called belly breathing. Here’s how to do it.
- Sit in a comfortable position
- Put one hand on your belly and the other hand on your chest.
- Take a deep breath in through your nose, letting your belly push out towards your hand. Your chest should not move.
- Breath out through your mouth. Feel the hand on your belly go in. Push all the air out with your hand.
Do this exercise 3-10 times, as often as it takes to relax your pulse and racing thoughts.
Engage in Healthy Self-Talk
High emotional intelligence can help you get through stressful moments. Admit your feelings to yourself. Do you feel mad? Scared? Worried? Ashamed? Give a word to your feelings and then decide how to handle them.
When you feel ashamed or scared, remind yourself that you are intelligent, strong, and capable. Talk through your feelings from the point of view that it will be ok, and there are ways to get through this.
Know Your Limits
Finally, you have to know your limits. This includes your personal limits outside of work. When your life is stressful out of work, you’ll have less emotional energy to give at work.
Learn how to say no. You don’t have to work all the shifts or volunteer for all the things. Protect your emotional energy at all costs so that you avoid an emotional breakdown.
Least Stressful Nursing Jobs: Final Thoughts
You likely picked nursing as a career because you like to care for others. But it’s important that you also care for yourself and focus on your mental health. Choosing to work in a low stress nursing job doesn’t make you any less of a nurse. It makes you smart!
Not all nursing jobs are life and death in a fast-paced hospital. There are some nursing jobs that require less time and work with healthier people. You can still use your degree in nursing and clinical experience to make a big impact without having to manage so much stress. Keep browsing nursing jobs until you find one that is the perfect fit for your personality and emotional makeup. There is something out there that is perfect for you!
More Nursing Jobs To Consider
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