Nurse Types / Most Stressful Nursing Jobs
Though many nurses love their jobs, nursing is stressful. While less-stressful roles exist, lots of nurses work in high-stress positions.
Fortunately, there are ways to deal with stress that doesn’t include quitting your job.
However, some nurses want to avoid high-stress positions altogether. We have come up with a list of the most stressful nursing jobs to satisfy this need.
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Most Stressful Nursing Positions
Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurses
ICU is an extremely high-pressure environment and these nurses work with patients who have significant injuries and disease with added morbidity risks. Unstable patients require lifesaving interventions and once stabilized, are transferred to a different unit.
Data shows that more than half of all critical care nurses experience burnout syndrome. Nurses deal with several ethical dilemmas and trauma each shift.
Often, patient outcomes are out of your hands, which can frustrate any nurse.
Emergency Department nurses
ER nurses are first responders when patients enter the hospital.
The fast-paced nature of this position can exhilarate nurses and cause them significant stress. It all depends on the nurse.
Nurses within this department might spend an entire shift on their feet without a break even to use the restroom.
According to one study, job-related stress related to nurses because they had to perform non-nursing activities consistently.
These nurses deal with various patients, and they also struggle to feel in control of the patient outcomes. They don’t get to see patients heal, so it can seem a bit deflating at times.
Within this role, nurses work with newborn infants who have various problems such as congenital disabilities, infection and cardiac issues. The neonatal period involves the first month of life.
Watching newborn babies struggle is stressful. NICU nurses deal with the babies, but often parents suffer because they can’t even hold them.
Nurses have to think quickly on their toes in this position as NICU babies often develop complications without warning.
However, this role does have some satisfaction when nurses can see a baby go home safe and healthy with their families.
OR nurses work in the operating room and deal more one-on-one with patients. In this sense, it deviates from the previous roles discussed. The operation room nurse provides quality care to patients during their surgery.
One of the benefits of this position involves having more regulated hours. However, OR nurses often must work extended hours due to the physician’s demands. OR nurses spend hours on their feet depending on the surgery length and work very closely with surgeons and techs.
The oncology nurse role can have its ups and downs. Nurses have a chance to build relationships with patients over their time in their care. However, it hurts seeing patients suffering, especially when they pass away.
Another significant stressor for oncology nurses involves their contact with toxic chemotherapy drugs.
On top of that, they face several different patients at a time with these acute symptoms.
It’s not an easy job.
Psychiatric nursing isn’t just sitting around in groups discussing feelings. You have to deal with patients experiencing acute mental and physical health conditions. Unfortunately, sometimes these patients lash out physically at the nurses.
According to studies, almost all nurses (88.6%) experienced verbal violence and more than half (56.1%) experienced physical violence.
The threat of physical and verbal violence alone makes this particular job stressful.
Final words on the most stressful nursing jobs
The most stressful nursing jobs is a relative idea. However, these nursing jobs carry a significant amount of stress, but they also provide rewarding opportunities to nurses. Let Incredible Health help you with tips for curbing burnout and incorporating wellness activities into your life. You’ve got this!
Expert advice from nurses like you
- “Is a Career in Neonatal Nursing Right for You?” nann.org. Accessed Jan. 27, 2021.