The 10 Least Stressful Nursing Careers

October 17, 2023


Reviewed by:

Jonathan Preminger

Former Admissions Committee Member, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine

Reviewed: 10/17/23

Curious to know more about the least stressful nursing jobs and how they can benefit your career and well-being? Keep reading to discover which specialties offer a better work-life balance and job satisfaction!

Nursing is a fulfilling and worthwhile profession that requires dedication, empathy, and perseverance. While nursing can present its challenges, there are low-stress nursing positions available that offer a more relaxed work environment.

Read on to find the answer to the question, “what are the least stressful nursing jobs?”

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Top 10 Least Stressful Nursing Jobs

Nursing can be a challenging and demanding career, but certain specialties offer a better work-life balance and lower levels of stress. In this article, we've researched and compiled a list of the top 10 least stressful nursing jobs that provide a fulfilling and rewarding experience for nurses who prioritize their well-being.

1. Nurse Educator

Among the many demanding nursing jobs out there, this position is considered one of the least stressful options. Even though the responsibility of preparing the next generation of nurses is significant, the work environment is relatively low-pressure, and the work hours are reasonable.

Nurse educators teach and train future nurses, and they are responsible for developing nursing curricula and lesson plans. As one of the highest paid nursing jobs, nurse educators make an average of $78,580 per year. 

Nurse educators are among the highest paid nursing jobs, making about $78,580 per year on average. There is currently a shortage of nurse educators, so if you’re thinking of stepping back from patient care to education, it’s a great time to do so.

2. Nurse Researcher

Nurse researchers generally work in universities, colleges, or research facilities, which means their job involves minimal patient interaction. While research is not an easy career, it is comparatively less stressful than other alternatives. 

As the name suggests, these professionals conduct scientific research in the field of nursing to improve patient care and outcomes. Nurse researchers can look forward to a promising career outlook, with a projected job growth rate of 28% from 2021 to 2031, indicating a high demand for their skills and expertise.

Nurse researchers enjoy an average annual salary of $94,859, which can vary based on factors such as experience, qualifications, and location. This salary reflects the value that nurse researchers bring to their organizations and the critical role they play in advancing nursing knowledge and practice.

3. Nurse Administrator

If you're looking for the least stressful nursing jobs, consider the nursing administration career path. While getting into nursing school can be challenging, nursing administrators have the opportunity to pursue leadership positions with autonomy and flexibility. 

These professionals work in hospitals to manage healthcare facilities and oversee the operations of nursing departments. They enjoy a competitive average annual salary of $104,830, reflecting the significant responsibilities they undertake in managing healthcare organizations and ensuring the delivery of high-quality patient care.

In addition to the attractive salary, the nursing administration career has a projected growth rate of over 32% by the end of the decade, indicating a high demand for qualified professionals in this field.

4. Occupational Health Nurse

For nurses who seek a less stressful job outside of traditional healthcare facilities, as well as flexible work schedules, occupational health nursing is another excellent opportunity.

Occupational health nurses are responsible for overseeing business settings and developing health and safety programs for businesses. They are responsible for promoting workplace health and safety and helping prevent workplace injuries and illnesses.

Occupational health nursing has a promising job outlook, with a projected job growth rate of 6% by the end of the decade, which is as fast as the average job growth rate.

Additionally, occupational health nurses enjoy an average annual salary of $79,060, which is a testament to the value they bring to their organizations. This salary can vary based on several factors, but it provides a competitive compensation package reflecting the vital role these professionals play in promoting employee health and safety.

5. School Nurse

A school nurse's job is an excellent choice for nurses who want a less stressful work environment. Compared to other nursing jobs, school nursing is less physically demanding and involves working regular hours with a predictable schedule.

School nurses have the opportunity to provide basic medical care to students and staff while promoting healthy habits and providing health education, which can be rewarding. The work environment is typically low-pressure, and school nurses are not exposed to the same level of high-stress situations as other nursing jobs.

The future is bright for school nurses as the occupation is expected to grow by 6% from 2021 to 2031, indicating a healthy demand for qualified professionals. School nurses also enjoy an average salary of $52,546, which can vary based on factors such as location and experience.

6. Home Health Nurse

If the hospital environment is what you find stressful, rather than working with patients, transitioning from an RN to a home health nurse may be the solution.

Home health nurses provide care to patients in their homes, which can provide a less stressful environment compared to hospital settings. They are responsible for administering medications, monitoring vital signs, and providing wound care.

According to projections, home health nurses can anticipate a favorable employment landscape, with an estimated 6% increase in job opportunities between 2021 and 2031. The typical yearly pay for home health nurses amounts to $81,220.

7. Hospice Nurse

Working as a hospice nurse can provide a less stressful environment and a fulfilling, rewarding nursing career.

These nurses provide comfort and support to terminally ill patients and their families, managing pain and ensuring the patient's wishes are respected. Hospice nurses work in a more relaxed setting compared to other nursing jobs, which can reduce stress and promote well-being.

Registered nurses, including hospice nurses, can expect a steady job growth rate of 6% over the next decade. Moreover, hospice nurses can expect to earn competitive salaries ranging between $67,000 and $91,000 annually depending on factors such as experience, qualifications, and location.

8. Public Health Nurse

Public health nursing offers an excellent career opportunity for nurses who wish to minimize the hustle associated with direct patient care in hospital settings

Public health nurses believe that a person's health is affected by many factors, including genetic makeup, lifestyle, and environment. Public health nurses focus on prevention and education at a high level. The public health realm is ideal for nurses who enjoy designing programs that promote healthy living in the community.

Employment of registered nurses, which includes public health nurses, is projected to grow 6%. The base salary for a public health nurse ranges from $59,792 to $79,694 with the average base salary of $69,263.

9. Nursing Informatics Specialist

Nurses who experience stress while interacting with patients but find working with computers more comfortable could not have asked for a better position. Nursing informatics specialists combine their nursing knowledge with their expertise in information technology to improve patient care and outcomes.

The average salary of informatics nurses is $83,780 per year. They can work in various healthcare settings, most notably in medical record companies. Informatics nurses are in high demand, and the field continues to grow as healthcare adopts new technological solutions for record keeping.

10. Nurse Case Manager

For nurses who want to maintain patient care involvement while adopting a more targeted and personalized approach to assistance, this might be the ideal job. Nurse case managers also report high levels of job satisfaction due to the meaningful impact they have on their patients’ lives.

Nurse case manager job growth coincides with the 32% projected growth for all medical and health services managerial jobs between 2020 and 2030. The average nurse case manager salary is $67,906.

FAQs: Low-Stress Nursing Jobs

Looking for information about low stress nursing jobs? Check out our list of frequently asked questions to learn more about nursing specialties that offer a better work-life balance and lower levels of stress.

1. Why Are Nursing Jobs Stressful?

Nursing is a highly respected and rewarding profession that plays a critical role in healthcare. However, nursing may also be known to be one of the more challenging professions due to several factors.

As frontline healthcare providers, nurses are responsible for providing critical care to patients, making quick decisions under pressure, and constantly monitoring their patients' conditions.

While nursing can be physically and emotionally demanding, nurses find fulfillment in helping others and making a difference in their patients' lives. They work tirelessly to ensure their patients' well-being, often going above and beyond to provide the best possible care.

However, the healthcare system's demands can add to the stress and pressure of the job, such as staffing shortages, increasing patient demands, and administrative burdens. Despite these challenges, nurses remain passionate and dedicated to their profession, with many finding ways to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

2. What Type of Nurse Job Is the Least Stressful?

The least stressful nursing job on this list is the nurse educator. This job involves teaching students and training other nurses on the most current research, techniques, and medical advances.

This job is less physically demanding than other nursing positions, and nurse educators have more control over their schedules, making it easier to achieve a healthy work-life balance.

3. What Is the Happiest Nurse Job?

While all nursing jobs have the potential to be happy and fulfilling. One nursing job that is considered to be particularly happy is a nurse educator.

Nurse educators reported the highest satisfaction ratings of any other type of nurse, with 33% reporting that they were happy where they are in their current role. Nurse educators are certified nurses that generally work in academia, not at the bedside, which may explain why they are faring better than many other types of nurses.

4. What Is the Easiest Job for a Nurse?

It's essential to recognize that nursing is a challenging yet rewarding profession that demands dedication, hard work, and exceptional skills. Fortunately, there are several nursing jobs that may require less physical exertion than others.

Based on reliable sources, there are nursing positions that are considered relatively easy and low-stress. These include:

  • Nurse educators
  • Research nurses
  • Public health nurses

These roles typically have lower patient ratios, less physically demanding tasks, and more predictable schedules, making them ideal for those seeking a less challenging work environment.

Final Thoughts

Finding the right career in nursing can be a challenging task, but it's important to consider options that offer a healthier work-life balance and lower levels of stress. With a range of opportunities available, the least stressful nursing jobs can provide a fulfilling experience for those who are dedicated, hardworking, and possess exceptional skills.

While each nursing job has its unique challenges and demands, aligning your skills, interests, and values with a specific nursing job can bring a sense of joy and fulfillment in your work. Ultimately, the nursing profession offers numerous opportunities to make a positive impact on the lives of others while prioritizing your own well-being.

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