Best Jobs for Nurses with Anxiety

by | Apr 12, 2022 | Nursing Jobs & Interviews | 1 comment

Nursing can be a demanding profession, and coping with anxiety can add another layer of challenge. However, there are several nursing roles that may be more suitable for individuals who struggle with anxiety. These positions often involve less stress, lower patient acuity, and more predictable schedules. Let’s discuss some of the best jobs for nurses with anxiety.

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Best Jobs for Nurses with Anxiety

Most nursing jobs are usually stressful, but some have a lower stress level which suits nurses with anxiety disorders. Here is the list of the 5 least stressful nursing jobs:

Utilization Review Nurse

Utilization review nurses evaluate the necessity and appropriateness of healthcare services, typically in an office setting. This role is less patient-facing and allows nurses to apply their clinical expertise without the high-stress environment of direct patient care. Utilization review nursing can be a great option for nurses with anxiety seeking a more comfortable work setting.

Clinic Nursing

Nurses working in outpatient clinics or doctors’ offices often experience a more relaxed work environment compared to hospitals. Clinic nursing typically involves assisting with routine medical procedures, patient education, and care coordination. This role offers a more predictable schedule and lower patient acuity, which can be appealing to nurses with anxiety.

Telehealth

Telehealth nursing involves providing remote nursing care and support through telephone or video consultations. This role allows nurses to work from the comfort of their own homes, avoiding the high-stress environments of hospitals and clinics. Telehealth nursing can be an excellent option for nurses with anxiety who are seeking a less stressful work setting.

I discuss telehealth in-depth in this blog post.

Research Nursing

Research nurses work in clinical trials, data collection, and study coordination, contributing to the development of new treatments and healthcare innovations. This role involves less direct patient care and offers a more structured and predictable work environment, making it a suitable choice for nurses with anxiety.

School Nurse

School nurses work in educational settings, providing care for students and staff members. This role typically involves managing minor illnesses and injuries, promoting health education, and addressing chronic health conditions. School nursing offers a predictable schedule and a less hectic environment compared to hospitals, making it a great option for nurses with anxiety.

Home Health

Home health nurses provide care for patients in their homes, focusing on managing chronic illnesses, post-operative care, and rehabilitation. This one-on-one care setting allows for a more personal connection with patients and a less stressful environment. Hospital units can be stressful because not only are your patients there, but so are everyone else’s! There are constant call lights and requests, any by working in home health you’re avoiding all of that by being one-on-one.

What Makes Nursing Jobs So Stressful?

Now you might be thinking that all nursing jobs are high-stress, but that’s not always the case. Nurses are often the ones who are responsible for taking care of patients and handling all of the paperwork. Let me tell you what makes a job so stressful for nurses is.

Various factors contribute to the stressful nature of the job. 

Long Hours

Hospitals often require nurses to work 12-hour shifts. When you account for commuting and staying after to finish charting or dealing with an emergency, we’re looking at more of 13-14 hours of a day at work.

Workload

In the hospital, you can be responsible for your patient load which could include more patients than you should have. You also are expected to help other nurses if their patients are not doing well. Also, if there are fewer patients on the unit, nurses are then sent home. Therefore, no matter what, you can expect a very busy shift.

Unpredictable Hours

Hospital nurses often are scheduled out 6-8 weeks in advance. Because the hospital is a 24/7 facility, nurses work weekends and holidays. You don’t have a work schedule that’s set in stone, and if the shift is very hectic or a patient does poorly close to shift change, you may have to stay late to ensure it’s dealt with appropriately.

Patient Interactions

While many of us get into nursing because we enjoy interacting with patients, it can get difficult if you’re dealing with people who are unkind, rude, or even abusive. Patients also are not the best version of themselves when hospitalized, others may have mental illness, and some may just be very mean people.

Also, not everyone is great in social situations. Some people prefer to do the clinical work as a nurse without the social/emotional aspect.

Time Pressure

One more thing is that nurses feel a lot of time pressure to get their work done. This can lead to feelings of anxiety and stress. Because there is so much work, we can feel an unrelenting amount of pressure.

My favorite quote that pertains to this is: “The work is not done, but it is time to stop.”

Nursing is a continuous process, so if you have a goal of being 100% done with every little task at the end of a shift, you will feel inadequate every time. The solution isn’t to work longer and increase the guilt to attempt to motivate yourself, it’s to change your expectations.

Inadequate Staffing

Many units don’t have the staff they need and this leave nurses caring for more patients than they should, which creates even more pressure.

Find the Right Fit for You

It’s important to remember that individual experiences with anxiety may vary, and what works best for one nurse may not be the best fit for another. It may take some exploration and self-reflection to find the nursing role that provides the right balance of challenge and support for nurses who struggle with anxiety.

Best Jobs for Nurses with Anxiety [VIDEO]

FAQs About Best Jobs for Nurses with Anxiety

Can I still be a good nurse if I have anxiety?

Absolutely! Many nurses with anxiety have successful and fulfilling careers. It’s essential to find the right work environment, develop effective coping strategies, and seek support from colleagues and mental health professionals when needed.

How can I manage my anxiety while working as a nurse?

Effective self-care, stress management techniques, and professional support can help you manage anxiety while working as a nurse. Consider mindfulness practices, regular exercise, healthy sleep habits, and seeking help from a mental health professional if needed. Your employer may offer free counseling through their EAP programs, so look into that! Also, I create courses to help better prepare you for clinical situations because I’ve found that familiarity decreases anxiety. Walking into the unknown is terrifying and by creating a sense of normalcy before you start your job, that can really give you an edge over your anxiety.

Will disclosing my anxiety to my employer affect my job opportunities or advancement?

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers are not allowed to discriminate against employees based on mental health conditions, including anxiety. However, it’s important to consider how much information you feel comfortable sharing and weigh the potential benefits of disclosure against any potential risks.

How can I prepare for job interviews if I have anxiety?

Preparing for job interviews can be challenging for anyone, especially those with anxiety. Practice common interview questions, research the organization, and rehearse your answers to help build your confidence. I walk people through how to do this in detail here. Consider relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, visualization, and even splashing cold water on your face prior to the interview to decrease your fight or flight response.

Is it common for nurses to experience anxiety?

Yes, anxiety is a common issue among healthcare professionals, including nurses. The high-stress nature of the job, long hours, and emotional demands can contribute to feelings of anxiety. It’s essential to recognize and address anxiety to ensure personal well-being and optimal patient care.

More Resources

Are you done with the guess-work of applying and interviewing for nursing jobs?

hired: the ultimate guide to nurse resumes and interviews course cover

Hired from FreshRN is a self-paced, online course for ambitious nurses who want to be the ideal candidate for their dream job. Amber Nibling, MSN RN-BC, and Kati Kleber, MSN RN have interviewed hundreds of nurse applicants and they give you the inside scoop of what interviewers are thinking. Learn everything you need to know to impress potential employers (and yourself) by learning what the hiring team expects from you, so you can not only meet, but exceed those expectations.

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Hi, I’m Kati.

Kati Kleber, MSN RN is a nurse educator, author, national speaker, host of the FreshRN® Podcast, and owner of FreshRN® – an online platform created to educate, encourage, and motivate newly licensed nurses in innovative ways.

Connect with her on YouTube, Pinterest, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, and sign-up for her free email newsletter for new nurses.

1 Comment

  1. Erin

    Do any outpatient accredited residencies exist? What outpatient jobs tend to accept new grads? Does outpatient dialysis or wound care count as med-surg experience? Thank you.

    Reply

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