22 Least Stressful Nurse Practitioner Jobs in 2021
Written By: Donna Reese MSN, RN, CSN
The unfortunate truth is that due to unsatisfactory work conditions for inpatient NPs, many are seeking work that is less stressful and away from the bedside. It is not unreasonable to ask what are the least stressful nurse practitioner jobs? If you could find a fulfilling yet low-stress career as a nurse practitioner, would you jump at the chance for such a job? As a nurse practitioner, I am excited to report that there are plenty of unique and exciting career choices for NP’s that will not drain you mentally or physically. I encourage you to read my article about the 22 least stressful nurse practitioner jobs in 2021 for new insight about low-pressure opportunities as a nurse practitioner.
WHAT ARE THE LEAST STRESSFUL NURSE PRACTITIONER JOBS?
(Following are the 22 least stressful nurse practitioner jobs in 2021.)
1. School Nurse Practitioner
If you are not aware, the position of a school nurse and that of a school nurse practitioner can be 2 very different jobs. I have been on both sides of the school nurse profession in my career. A school nurse is an RN who runs the day-to-day health room for a school. It can be lonely as the only medical provider but also very hectic at times, with young patients overflowing in the nurse’s office during recess and flu season.
As a school nurse practitioner, you may work in the school clinic in addition to the RN school nurse. Your duties as an NP may include seeing children for physical exams, to prescribe medication, or for follow-up care. Your day may be more scheduled and paced than that of the school nurse.
At the last school where I worked, the NPs were given a daily schedule with a list of students to see for the day. The pace was reasonable, and plenty of time was allotted to chart. The school NP is not usually responsible for the daily emergencies and can generally work through the day on schedule and not feel the pressure of all of the constant interruptions, paperwork, and mandated duties of the school nurse RN.
Some school districts hire a school nurse NP as the lone nurse for the school, so beware of this pitfall when applying for school nurse practitioner positions. However, as both a certified school nurse RN and nurse practitioner, I can attest that working as a nursing care provider in a school is gratifying!
2. Medical Writer
A medical writer is a highly qualified medical professional who holds an advanced medical degree, such as a nurse practitioner or a pharmacist. You can work as an employee of a pharmaceutical or medical product company or freelance. Working freelance does not have the stability of being an employee, but the freedom gained by being your own boss makes being a freelance medical writer one of the least stressful NP jobs out there.
As a freelance nurse writer, I enjoy a stress-free schedule with time built in to visit family and friends, exercise and vacation when I want. There is unlimited content for a medical writer to produce, such as continuing education (CEU’s), grant proposals, health content for publications, research papers, and medical books. I can pick and choose ideal offerings and topics that I enjoy. Ultimately, I gain a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment in addition to much freedom as a nurse writer.
3. Nurse Educator
When a nurse steps away from bedside nursing, many times
, the stress level goes down. An NP who chooses to become a nurse educator
does not have to deal with the poor staffing ratios, chronic mandatory overtime and rotating shiftwork, and back-breaking lifting that many inpatient nurse practitioners contend with on the job.
With an abundance of respectable online nurse practitioner programs
available, nurse educators may not even have to leave their homes to teach aspiring nurses. The pleasant work conditions, convenience, and flexibility of a career as a nurse educator make it one of the least stressful nurse practitioner jobs for sure.
4. Clinic Nurse Practitioner
Having worked in a clinic as a nurse practitioner, I can attest that the environment is not as stressful as at the bedside. Clinic nurse practitioners have a patient schedule for the day which helps to keep the pace regulated and unhurried.
Having an arranged time to see patients in a day reduces the stress of call bells ringing and never having enough time to meet all of your patients' needs. The organized ebb and flow of patients with time allotted for charting helps to lessen the frustration for a clinic NP. I recall that I had some frustrating patients in my schedule as a clinic NP, but I never had an out-of-control day that I would deem stressful.
5. Public Health NPPublic health nurse practitioners
develop and coordinate community outreach programs to improve the health and conditions for the areas they serve. In addition to being one of the best career options for nurse practitioners
, public or community NPs enjoy much autonomy as the lead in various services and offerings for the community.
Public health nurse practitioners work regular hours and, for some, have limited patient contact. Without the stress of having to meet patient demands, a public health NP can be one of the least stressful nurse practitioner jobs.
6. Clinical Research NP
While RN’s can work in medical research, the amount of precision and autonomy necessary for the position makes clinical research nurse practitioners
desired for this career. Limited patient interaction, regular hours, and the ability to work at your own pace makes clinical research one of the low-stress nurse practitioner jobs.
7. Weight Loss Clinic NP
NPs who work at a weight loss clinic are responsible for conducting physical exams, assessing patient progress, and providing patient education. Typically, this environment is slower paced with the providers having ample opportunity to provide quality education and time with each patient.
Patient interaction is one on one with the visit focused on a treatable and non-threatening condition. Patients enroll at weight loss clinics because they want to help themselves and are more motivated to cooperate with treatment than some typical patients in other medical environments.
8. Nurse Informatics
NPs who work in informatics crunch data and analyze trends that impact health and medicine. Working in an office environment, with regular hours and zero patient contact, a nurse informaticist can be one of the low-stress NP jobs for those who enjoy scrutinizing and interpreting information.
9. Occupational Health NPOccupational health nurse
practitioners deliver preventative and acute health services to employees in a wide variety of environments. For the most part, occupational health NPs enjoy working in modern, progressive facilities with state-of-the-art equipment such a corporate buildings and manufacturing companies. Regular hours and slower patient flow are other factors why NPs prefer to work in this environment.
10. Private Industry
Insurance companies need nurse practitioners to perform physical examinations for both life and medical insurance applicants. While some NPs prefer to freelance this position, others are employed full time in corporations such as Life-Line Screening
where NP’s perform preventative health care for specific needs.
The majority of private industry NP jobs are very flexible and pay well. NPs who enjoy working autonomously in a non-acute environment will find a career in the private sector to be one of the low-stress nurse practitioner jobs.
11. Hospice Nurse Practitioner
Hospice nurse practitioners are often referred to as palliative care NPs
. Nurse practitioners who work in hospice are a special type of person. Typically, a hospice nurse practitioner finds satisfaction in assisting terminally ill patients and their families to be more comfortable for their remaining days. While working with dying patients may be stressful for some NPs, palliative care NPs utilize their compassion and skills to find fulfillment in the job. Much autonomy and one-on-one patient contact with ample time allotted to care for their patients illustrates why hospice nursing is one of the least stressful nurse practitioner jobs.
12. Medical Cannabis Shop ManagerMedical cannabis
is becoming legal in more and more states. This growing field is actively recruiting nurse practitioners to manage cannabis shops and prescribe to patients seeking a prescription for medical marijuana. This position has much autonomy, and the duties are limited to mainly performing a brief patient oral assessment, patient education, and prescribing cannabis. Typically a low-pressure environment, working in the medical cannabis industry can be one of the least stressful NP jobs nowadays.
13. Aesthetic Nurse Practitioner
As one of the best career options for nurse practitioners
for 2021, an aesthetic nurse practitioner
enjoys a good salary and a serene work environment. In addition, regular hours, sufficient time devoted for each patient, and the ability to provide patient education to eager and corporative patients makes this low-stress position popular for NPs.
14. Sleep Medicine
Working with patients who are asleep most of the night can be less stressful than dealing with alert and needy patients during the day. Sleep medicine for nurse practitioners
is a calm and quiet career choice. In addition to monitoring just a handful of patients each night, this position requires interpretation of test results and patient education. These low-pressure tasks and subdued patient environment make sleep medicine one of the least stressful NP jobs.
NPs who work in hemodialysis are referred to as nephrology nurse practitioners
. Nurse practitioners working in hemodialysis enjoy low patient-to-nurse ratios and an opportunity to build relationships with their long-term clientele. In addition, if working in an outpatient setting, regular work hours and high staff satisfaction and retention contribute to a minimal stress environment for nurse practitioners.
16. Remote Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Another option for low-stress nurse practitioner jobs is that of a remote psychiatric nurse practitioner. A quick look on indeed.com reveals that there is a need for virtual mental health NPs. Job duties include writing a medical plan for patients, which includes medication prescribed by the NP. A remote psychiatric nurse practitioner sees approximately 8 patients a day from the comfort of home, and there is a wide variety of patient populations to choose from. For this type of position, the NP can pick and choose what types of clients she wants to work with and experiences a slower-paced day than other NP jobs.
17. Working in a Minute-Clinic
Minute Clinics are popping up all over the country in CVS pharmacy and some Target stores. The clinic is staffed by nurse practitioners or physician assistants to provide brief medical care for non-acute conditions.
NP’s duties include immunizations, STD testing, physical exams for sports or driving exam paperwork, and treatment for minor illness or injuries.
Being a provider at a minute-clinic is one of the low-stress NP jobs due to the non-complex patients they treat and appointments necessary to help space out the workload.
18. Working at an Online Urgent Care Center
An NP who is employed at an online urgent care center provides telemedicine to a variety of patients via the phone. Nurse practitioners can pace their work as needed to accommodate patients and chart according to their needs for the day. Working from home is an added bonus for NPs to help make this job more flexible and less stressful.
19. NP on Foot Care Team
Nurse practitioners play a vital role
in the medical team that care for feet. Nurse practitioners see scheduled patients in an office for non-urgent foot care and procedures. Working regular hours mainly in an outpatient environment with patients with less medically complex conditions makes this job one of the low-stress NP jobs that you may want to consider.
20. Case Management
Working for insurance companies, the NP will provide assessment and planning for patients in long-term care facilities or Medicare recipients. Case management has much autonomy with the NP in charge of the patient scheduling and workflow. Working regular office hours, often remotely, helps to make this position one of the low-stress NP Jobs you may want to consider.
21. NP for Long-Term Care Facility
Nurse practitioners employed by a long-term care facility typically work 9-5 hours providing physical examinations for Medicare. In addition, NPs see patients for their chronic conditions and prescribe medication. These non-urgent or complex visits, along with a relaxed pace, helps to keep the stress level low for NPs working for long-term care institutions.
22. Health Coach
One of the more unique nurse practitioner jobs
is that of a health coach. In addition to being an atypical NP career, a health coach can mold the job into whatever suits the NP, as most health coaches are self-employed. Besides being able to make your own hours and work at whatever pace you like, an NP health coach enjoys the satisfaction of helping patients achieve overall well-being. Finding gratification in your job eases stress and makes for a wonderful career.
Summing It Up
Nurse practitioners may not be aware of the vast array of exciting job opportunities available. Many of these positions are not high-pressure, and the NP can enjoy the satisfaction and challenge without the headache and anxiety related to some positions. So, what are the least stressful nurse practitioner jobs? I am pleased to have presented the 22 least stressful nurse practitioner jobs in 2021 and hope that I have given you plenty of ideas for low-stress career choices. I hope that you find an NP job that you will love.
Donna Reese MSN, RN, CSN
Donna Reese is a freelance nurse health content writer with 37 years nursing experience. She has worked as a Family Nurse Practitioner in her local community clinic and as an RN in home health, rehabilitation, hospital, and school nursing.