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an 'easier' specialty


Specializes in ER.

We all know ER is harder than any other specialties, mentally and physically, although many others cry "all nursing is hard and try to say office nurse=ER nurse"... well, ER is just 'harder'.

I wanted to look into a different type of specialty because I don't ever want to go back to ER again. I want the joy of M-F 8-5, no weekends, no juggling between 4-5 patients of all acuities, 12hr nights, being short staffed, working without medics, techs or transports and being called out for slow triage, long wait time, you know the whole administrative 9 yard bs.

Any place like this? I know some of my coworkers went to pre-op or pacu and said it was a cake walk. Case management is a dream job but too competitive at this time. Thanks for chiming on in advance!

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 16 years experience.

First, what makes a job easy or hard is going to be something different for each person. Secondly, saying one specialty is harder than another only serves to divide nurses and pit them against each other. Each specialty has its pros and cons, and that also goes back to what every nurse considers easy vs. hard being very individualized.

If you think a position would be a better fit for you (a much better way of phrasing things, by the way, especially during an interview), then why not apply and ask for the opportunity to shadow as part of the interview?


Specializes in Emergency Nursing.

I am an ER nurse and yes, is it hard? Absolutely! But do I consider it any harder than med-surg or any other specialty? Nope. That is degrading and immature to think we are the only ones who "have it bad". I couldn't do what med-surg nurses do. There's no way. You couldn't pay me enough.

Good luck in your job search, just be aware of how your words can sound to others.

rearviewmirror, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER.

With all due respect, I don't understand why it is hard to say one specialty is harder than another. I started out as a medsurg nurse, and I can say with personal experience that it was not even a same level of difficulty in terms of physical brute, mental exhaustion and staffing level at the ER, never mind the total nature of chaos. Even the doctors have "easier specialty" and "harder specialty", so why is it so astounding that nursing is the same way?

Either ways, just a difference in opinion I suppose. I am going to still remember the days I had to sweat my butt off to take stemi to the cath lab to meet door to balloon time and consider that a lot easier than my days I sat around after midnight meds on the floor.

With all due respect, I don't understand why it is hard to say one specialty is harder than another.

It's not hard to say it, it's just that your opinion about what is hard is just that--your opinion based on your experience and your experience only.

You have to take into account that some ERs may have excellent staffing, residents that transport patients to CT, MRI, and Cath lab. While your ER may be difficult at your hospital, mine could be a piece of cake.

The other variable you don't account for is your definition of hard. Hard to you may be easy for someone else. Hard for someone else might be a cakewalk for you. We all have different interests and abilities.

I'm not sure that being a certain type of Doctor is harder than another. If you hate pediatrics but love neurosurgery, neurosurgery would be easier--or at least a better choice--than peds.

In the end, I'm not sure who really cares about what nursing job is harder than another.

Good luck finding that 9-5 M-F cake job. You just may be in for a rude awakening.

Edited by enuf_already

Go work for a Dr office. That is the "cake walk" your looking for, but you will be paid accordingly.

Look at day surgery centers. You do have to work early mornings sometimes, but no weekends or holidays, same for MRI centers.

You could also look at free standing Urgent care centers. Still usally 12 hr shifts, but if your PRN, you can many times have weekends off while still working 3 weekdays and getting paid pretty well.

As for what is harder, I agree with the others, it is all relative.

I find ER nursing much easier mentally than ICU but physically more demanding, and being short staffed sucks no matter where you are. Being tripled in the ICU with 2 vents and another pt circling the drain is not an easy thing at all.

NickiLaughs, ADN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency, Trauma, Critical Care. Has 12 years experience.

I did case management. It was not easy. I had two phones constantly ringing. Tons of paperwork, and my 40 hour work week was usually 50 or more. I'd rather do ICU again than that. ER has been my favorite so far. Organized chaos is my life line.

Id second what others suggested and shadow someone to make sure you would enjoy it. I've heard ambulatory surgery is nice, but seems hard to break into. That's how it is with those kinds of gigs tho.

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 27 years experience.

Personally, I think personality is what makes a job "easier" or "harder". I loved, loved, loved my level one trauma center night shift ER position. I am very type A, love being very busy and juggling multiple demands at the same time.

After having been a staff nurse in various units for 14 years, I became an APRN. I still juggle demands but often the buck stops with me. For me, this is far more stressful in terms of mental stress than any physically demanding job I've had.

That said, I still enjoy being a nurse, I enjoy the opportunity to do different things and care for a wide range of pts. At the end of the day, being happy is important.

We all know ER is harder than any other specialties, mentally and physically ...

No, we don't "all" know that ...

rearviewmirror, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER.

after reading all the comments from yal, well I was humbly convinced that what your saying is right. Probably better to say "fit" than "easier" and its all relative and subjective. thanks for the little eye opener everyone.


Specializes in ER, Neuro, Trauma, Educator. Has 5 years experience.

I currently work as lead clinical nurse educator for my hospital m-f and PRN (usually Saturdays) in the ED at the bigger hospital in town. My previous background is med/surg neuro which was high acuity and really should have been staffed more like a step down.

Anyways, I wanted to chime in because I absolutely HATE working Monday through Friday! Holidays off are ideal but that is about it. I don't know what it is but it's been almost 2 years and I can't get used to it! I know it is ideal for some because of family/children/school/other obligations but I can't stand it.

That being said, I love my job as an educator. I am just as busy and stressed as when I work sat and have a shift with traumas, sad cases, etc... it's just a different kind of busy and people do not have the same respect for my time (I assume because I am not directly saving lives :p lol) as when I'm working the floor. Just a fair warning, most M-F jobs are still nursing jobs in that you run constantly, prioritize, deal with less than nice folks and leave late. Ironically, I usually leave the ED on time because we have a teamwork mentality and shoo the off going shift out the door because they have already "done their time". I work a minimum of 50 hours a week in education and do not get overtime because I am salary.

Sorry for writing a book, those are just a few things I have learned from my jobs in management and the ED and I figured I would share since you are exploring options. All things said I love both jobs and find each rewarding

Have you looked into urgent care clinics in the area? The hours may be better and your experience would be valuable. House supervisor might also give you more flexibility while still utilizing your critical care background (while letting you see new things, meet new people and scope the scene for something that fits what you're looking for! :D )

Best of luck!

SummerGarden, ADN, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in ED, ICU, MS/MT, PCU, CM, House Sup, Frontline mgr. Has 13 years experience.

With all due respect, I don't understand why it is hard to say one specialty is harder than another.

That is the problem others are pointing out, it is not respectful to say/write what you wrote with or without experience. Especially since it is not true! If it were true, people would not be insulted.

Also, there is nothing "cake" about Case Management. The turnover rate for new CMs is 6 months to 1 year. If you can make it through your 1st year, then you might make it to 2. I do not know know how that translates to "cake".

On the other hand, I get that one specialty might be a better fit for people then another. So do a another poster pointed out and shadow. In fact, start looking at different facilities and/or departments. Who knows, you might not hate a different ED as much as you hate your current one?

CrunchRN, ADN, RN

Specializes in Clinical Research, Outpt Women's Health. Has 25 years experience.

Clinical research. It has stress, but also everything you mentioned.

I was told that surgery centers was a breeze. I'm not exactly sure what the job is called but the RN ask questions and take vitals before surgery and that's it. Could get boring if your doing 12 hours.

I was told in a clinic that's you have your job and 3 others. But if your used to always being on the run maybe you wouldn't mind it. What about Home Health?


Specializes in Telemetry; CTSICU; ER. Has 10 years experience.

Their are several nurses I know who work in & absolutely LOVE PACU and would never go back to bedside nursing on the floor. They say they like the 5 days a week 8-4:30, no weekends (except call), no family politics to deal with, and no difficult patients to deal with because they are majority of the time sedated. I thought about applying there (jobs don't open up there that often either) since the nurses working in PACU make it sound like the holy grail, but I can't/don't want to do 5 days a week and that's the only option at this hospital.

There are no "easy" specialties, just ones that fit YOU better.

Shadow a few different ones and find out which ones you like.


Specializes in ER, Med-surg.

I work in an ER that is as understaffed/chaotic as can be and occasionally pick up PACU shifts, and relative to the physical and mental stress of the ER, I do personally find it easier- I go home much, much less tired and anxious than from a typical ER shift.

That said, I haven't transferred because I think I would find it dull day in and day out, and because the particular stresses of the PACU, and they do exist, (especially dealing with the individual preferences/demands of the surgeons and anesthesiologists) are not things that I handle as well as the stresses of the ER. A number of my ER colleagues have made the transition, though, and seem to enjoy it. It seems like it's about as far from ER life as you can get and still be in a hospital setting, so if the issue for you is ER burnout, it might be a good palate cleanser.

Whatever you decide to try, give serious thought to what it is that seems "easier" about it to you, and know that few licensed nursing jobs are genuinely globally easier than others (anything that really, truly doesn't require nursing training has largely been reassigned to UAP), they just all have pros and cons that may not be universally apparent to you until you work them. Those rare positions that that do involve much lighter workloads or have appealing hours tend to have that reflected in their pay.

Personally, I was a floor nurse before I was an ER nurse and while the stress or demand on my time at individual peak moments in the ER might be higher, I found the grind of juggling large patient loads and the same chronically ill patients for days or weeks on end much, much harder than the ER, which gives me constantly changing interesting and exciting cases in exchange for my hard work. As hard as it is in my current ER, I can't imagine voluntarily returning to M/S. And yet I know floor nurses who tried the ED and couldn't stand it, and returned to the floor. Everybody's different.


Specializes in Psych/Mental Health. Has 4 years experience.

There are no "easy" specialties, just ones that fit YOU better.

Shadow a few different ones and find out which ones you like.


I have the easiest job in the hospital. Acute psych is the perfect job, probably because I love it so much. I find it very rewarding, and I'm good at it. 95% of the nurses in my facility will disagree with me. They find it overwhelming and scary.

You will need to find your own happy place.