5 of the Easiest and Least Stressful Jobs for Nurses

A home health nurse helping an elderly patient with their medication
Reviewed by
Miranda Kay, RN
June 10, 2024

If specialized physicians represent every organ of the healthcare system, nurses are the blood that brings fresh oxygen and removes impurities from the bloodstream. In the same way that a body’s bloodstream serves important immune defense and oxygen circulation, nurses are the first line of defense in patient care and provide vital support for physicians. While this role is often deeply fulfilling, it can be a difficult and taxing long-term career choice. 

Some advanced practice career paths in nursing offer higher pay but might be stressful. So what is the easiest job for nurses? Keep reading to discover not just one but five of the easiest jobs for nurses.

What Makes Nursing So Difficult?

Nursing is a stressful profession because of various factors explained in the following list:

  • Long shifts: Typically, nurses work 12-hour shifts, which are physically and mentally demanding. Furthermore, nurses must endure sleepless hours and all the responsibilities they carry on their shoulders.  
  • A variable schedule: Nursing schedules tend to be structured differently from the office-friendly, nine-to-five format. It’s common for nurses to work nights, weekends, and holidays. Furthermore, nurses may periodically have to switch from one schedule to another, which is often referred to as working “swing shifts.”
  • Staffing shortages: The country needs more nurses, which translates to heavy workloads for nurses, resulting in extreme exhaustion and burnout.
  • Infection and disease exposure: Since nurses are in direct contact with viruses and infections daily, this exposure can become another source of stress in the workplace.
  • Tense work environment: Patients are sick, in pain, and sometimes afraid. Plus, nurses must deal with family members, which can be stressful. Therefore, a challenging environment can be another factor that can lead to nurse burnout.   

Job stress can affect productivity and nurses’ lives. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) studied 130 jobs and found that nurses are in the 27th position regarding professionals who most commonly seek professional mental health care. Furthermore, a study published by the National Library of Medicine in 2023 showed that 91 percent of nurses experience high levels of burnout, and 61 percent have low satisfaction with their jobs. 

Some nursing jobs are more stressful than others and can lead nurses to experience burnout symptoms or work fatigue. Therefore, nurses must evaluate whether it is time to take a break, recharge, and care for themselves. Work is important, but health comes first.   

What Counts as an “Easy” Job in Nursing?

Nurses might frequently ask themselves what the easiest or least stressful job is. However, the answer is more complex since nurses might have different criteria to define a manageable job.

Therefore, the following list shows some of the most common criteria for nurses to consider when looking for an easy job:

  • Schedule flexibility: If nurses have flexible working hours and can manage their time better, achieving a work-life balance and being more productive is easier. In fact, according to a survey conducted by the American Nurses Foundation, 40 percent of nurses said they have poor control over their workload and describe their work day as intense or hectic. 
  • Indirect patient care: Working in settings that do not require direct contact with patients can be less stressful since nurses don’t have to worry about exposure to viruses and diseases or direct contact with distressed patients who can sometimes bully nurses.
  • Adequate staffing: Having sufficient nurses balances the daily workloads and makes shifts easier to handle.
  • Shorter shifts: According to a study published in ScienceDirect in 2023, 40.7 percent of nurses felt fatigued, and 50.8 percent felt emotionally drained due to long shifts and excessive workloads. Therefore, working fewer hours can improve productivity and contribute to stronger, more vital nurse staff who face daily responsibilities more efficiently.      

The Top Five Easiest Nursing Jobs

Based on the factors that make jobs less stressful and tiring, here are five of the easiest nursing jobs: 

1. Nursing Instructor 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurse instructors have a mean annual wage of $86,530. They work in the academic area of the profession and are responsible for preparing future and advanced practice nurses. They can work as clinical tutors, educating and assessing new nurses in hospital settings. 

Requirements: 

  • Complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  • Pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN)
  • Gain nursing experience
  • Complete a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
  • Earn a Certification for Nurse Educators (CNE) or the Academic Clinical Nurse Educator Certification (CNEcl)

Why Is Working as a Nursing Instructor an Easy Job?

This position doesn’t require overnight shifts or working holidays or weekends. Since these specialized nurses focus on training new nurses and do not work directly with patients, they don’t have the stress that comes with bedside care. 

2. Case Management Nurse 

Based on extensive research, a case management nurse earns approximately $79,000 annually. They coordinate with healthcare teams to assess, monitor, and implement patient care plans. Furthermore, they usually work with patients who have chronic health conditions like diabetes. 

Requirements:

Why Is Case Management an Easy Nursing Job?

These nurses typically work a nine-to-five schedule. They work with different patients daily but still have more predictability than bedside nurses. 

3. Home Health Nurse

Based on extensive research, home health nurses earn an average of $87,430 annually. They work in the comfort of their patients’ homes, usually one-on-one. Patients can range from the elderly to infants recovering from surgery or with chronic conditions.

Requirements:

  • Complete a nursing program
  • Pass the NCLEX-PN (for practical nurses) or the NCLEX-RN, depending on the chosen nursing program
  • Accrue nursing experience (preferred, not required)

This specialty requires nurses with different levels of education and experience, so home health positions can be easy jobs when starting as a nurse.

Why Is Working in Home Health an Easy Nursing Job?

Usually, home health nurses have flexible working hours since they need to go to their patients’ houses and may have more control over their workload.

4. Telehealth Nurse

Based on extensive research, telehealth nurses earn an average of $86,070 annually. They provide care virtually through technology in various settings and can help monitor, assess, and clarify patients’ doubts, among other things.  

Requirements:

  • Complete an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a BSN
  • Pass the NCLEX-RN
  • Accrue nursing experience

Why Is Telehealth an Easy Nursing Job?

Usually, telehealth nurses don’t see emergency cases and don’t have the physical demands of a bedside nurse. 

5. Pre-Operative Nurse

Pre-operative nurses earn $103,422 annually on average, based on extensive research. They work with patients before surgery, administer pre-op medication, complete necessary paperwork, and check vitals.

Requirements: 

  • Complete an ADN or a BSN
  • Pass the NCLEX-RN
  • Accrue work experience as a registered nurse

Why Is Pre-Operative Nursing an Easy Job?

Pre-op nurses typically work daytime hours and are only rarely called in for emergency surgeries. Therefore, being a pre-op nurse can be less stressful than working as a bedside nurse. 

Are Any of These Easy Nursing Jobs Right for You?

These jobs give nurses more flexibility and are less stressful than most nursing positions. However, all nursing jobs have significant responsibilities since patient outcomes depend on nurses’ actions. 

There are other ways to gain flexibility, earn higher hourly pay, and avoid burnout. Working as a PRN nurse, you can choose what facility to work in, what type of job to pick up, and when you want to take a break. Look for a less stressful life through PRN jobs here.

Sources

Guillermo Gainsborg, MA
Blog published on:
June 10, 2024

Meet Guillermo, a contributing copywriter for Nursa who specializes in writing nursing content about finances, licensing, technology, and staffing solutions.

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