Nurses Occupy 5 Of The 30 Most Stressful Jobs In The US


By Nancy Clanton

No one is debating whether nurses have stressful jobs. And the past few years — with the pandemic, staffing shortages and pay disputes — have only added to their woes.

The Occupational Information Network, part of the U.S. Department of Labor, recently released its list of the most stressful jobs in the United States, and five of the top 30 are nurses. In all, 37 health care jobs ranked in the top 100.

The rankings highlighted the importance of tolerating criticism while calmly and effectively handling high-stress scenarios in each role. That certainly sounds like most nursing jobs.

Each job was scored 1 to 100 using those inputs.

Acute care nurse

Of the 873 jobs on the list, acute care nurse ranked No. 6. An acute care nurse provides advanced nursing care for patients with acute conditions including pre- and post-operative patients or performs advanced, invasive diagnostic or therapeutic procedures.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, diagnosing acute or chronic conditions, performing emergency medical procedures and administering blood transfusions.

Nurse anesthetist

A nurse anesthetist administers anesthesia for surgery or other medical procedures, and it came in at No. 10.

The minimum education needed includes a baccalaureate or grad degree in nursing or another suitable major, a state license as a registered nurse, and a minimum of a master’s degree from an accredited nurse anesthesia program. In addition, “CRNAs must complete 40 hours of continuing medical education credits every two years to maintain certification,” CRNA schools noted.

Nurse midwife

Certified nurse midwives are registered nurses who have finished a graduate-level nurse-midwife program and passed a certification exam from the American Midwifery Certification Board. Based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, No. 2 on the list of highest paying nursing jobs in 2022 was certified nurse midwife, with a mean average salary of $115,540 a year.

With that salary, however, comes a lot of stress, ranking the job at No. 11 on the list.

Advanced practice psychiatric nurse

Coming in at No. 16 was advanced practice psychiatric nurses. Although a lucrative career — $112,196 average annual pay, as of February 2022, according to Payscale — the job comes with a lot of stress.

Catherine Burger, MSOL, RN, NEA-BC, advises prospective psychiatric nurses to have “a strong support system and network of their own, such as a counselor. Caring for the mentally ill can be emotionally draining, and you need to be able to offload those emotions in a healthy manner.”

Critical care nurse

Critical care nurses care for patients with life-threatening illnesses, usually in intensive care units. Their duties landed them at No. 26.

“The most in-demand nursing specialties and types of nursing jobs during the pandemic are occurring in the ICU, with an increase in demand up over 500% than pre-pandemic times,” said Kathy Kohnke, senior vice president at Fastaff.


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