Viewpoint: Why these are the happiest nurse positions

Outpatient case managers and office nurses are some of the happiest in the field, according to an article written by Donna Reese, MSN, RN, and published by Nursing Process.

Nursing Process, an independent, educational resource site, used metrics such as salary, upward mobility, stress level, flexibility, work-life balance and future industry growth to determine happiness within nurse specialties. It ranked both the happiest and unhappiest nurse positions.

Ms. Reese noted these reasons for why these are the happiest positions:

1. Outpatient case management

According to the 2022 "Case Management Salary and Trends Survey Report" from the Case Management Society of America and the Case Management Institute, this position has above-average pay, good benefits, supportive management, a lack of the need for overtime and high job satisfaction.


2. Office nurse

Although this job has one of the lowest wages, it also has low stress and an intimate work environment.


3. NICU nurse

High pay and working with babies are the two greatest perks of this position.


4. Informatics nurse

Nurses who enjoy the technical side of medicine will enjoy this low-stress, high-pay job. The work allows for autonomy away from the grind of hospital work.


5. Legal nurse consultant

High autonomy, working in the business side of the profession, regular hours and prestige are a few reasons why nurses enjoy this position.


6. Health writer

Many health writers work freelance or hybrid long-term contracts, which provides a lot of freedom and an alternative way to using nursing expertise.


7. Private duty nurse

A high-paying job with low stress and the potential for lasting relationships with patients and family are reasons this job is gratifying. This job also allows ample time to complete all necessary duties well.


8. Dermatology nurse

This job has a reasonable caseload, pleasant work conditions and good pay and tends to have cooperative and grateful patients. 


9. Virtual nurse coach

Working from home is one of the benefits of this job, although the pay is average. 


10. Stress lab nurse

The stress lab can be a calming, refreshing environment after working in a hospital. Working one on one with patients at a slower pace alongside a small team is also one reason this job is one of the happiest.


11. Occupational health nurse

A low-stress with patients who tend to appreciate input and help, this job also has competitive pay.


12. Transplant nurse

Low nurse-to-patient ratios and excellent pay make this highly specialized job satisfying to many nurses.


13. Research nurse

For nurses who enjoy solitary, autonomous and analytical work, the research nurse position can be an excellent fit that comes with great pay.


14. Ambulatory surgery nurse

Top pay with daytime hours and weekends and holidays off make this a desirable position.


15. Nurse medical reviewer

No patients, no physicians and autonomous work from home or a quiet conference room makes this job great for people who want a change from direct patient care.

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