5 happiest nursing jobs, determined by work-life report

From pediatric care to travel nursing, these are the professions Nurse.com determined to be the most satisfying

Nursing is a noble profession filled with compassion, dedication and around-the-clock effort. Like any profession, it has its own set of challenges, but many nurses find joy and fulfillment in their roles. In fact, nearly 60% of nurses are satisfied or very satisfied with their jobs, according to the 2024 Nurse Salary and Work-Life Report.

From bringing new life into the world as a labor and delivery nurse to providing lifesaving interventions in critical care settings, finding the right specialty is just a decision away.

Using data from the report, Nurse.com determined these are the five happiest nursing professions.

Pediatric nurse

Pediatric nurses care for young patients and provide emotional support to their families. The joy of helping a child heal and witnessing their smiles can be incredibly uplifting. As Jenny Horner, LPN at Children’s Minnesota Heart Clinic, told Rasmussen University, “(I love) being able to connect with the child and parents and make it comfortable for all involved.” Connecting with children and parents, and making them feel comfortable, added to her overall job satisfaction.

Labor and delivery nurse

Imagine bringing life into the world every day; that’s what labor and delivery nurses do. Supporting women through childbirth and being part of a family’s happiest moments offers profound personal and professional satisfaction. One Redditor said labor and delivery is the best nursing job, exclaiming: “I rarely see people leave for greener pastures. Nurses are there till retirement.” The pay is not bad either, with an average labor and delivery nurse salary in the United States of $81,400 per year.

Oncology nurse

Despite the emotional challenges, oncology nurses often form deep connections with patients and their families. Providing compassionate care and support during such critical times is immensely rewarding, making this specialty fulfilling.

“The patient population is amazing. They’re so grateful for everything that you do for them. Bringing them something during their treatment as simple as a drink and a snack, they’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, thank you so much.’ It’s a very rewarding experience,” Crystal Yero, RN, told the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Nurse practitioners

Nurse practitioners enjoy more autonomy in diagnosing and treating patients. This role allows for holistic, patient-centered care, providing a higher level of job satisfaction through meaningful patient interactions. According to AMN Healthcare, 96% of NPs and 97% of CRNAs are pleased with their chosen profession. Talk about loving what you do.

Travel nurse

Travel nurses explore new places while working short-term assignments. The flexibility and adventure of experiencing different cultures and health care settings can make this role exciting and enriching. A recent survey by Nomad Health revealed that 76% of travel nurses report greater satisfaction in their roles compared to previous staff positions. As one travel nurse told Innovate Healthcare, “Freedom and flexibility are my biggest motivators. Plus, who doesn’t love a good adventure?”