First off, I appreciate all advice either good or bad about this potential life changing decision. I am very excited and pretty scared at the same time but I am just not happy here in Canada anymore and I can't get any further South in this country haha.
My plan, since I was a small child, is to move to Florida as it is my "happy place" as I feel at peace when I am down there.
I plan to move for various reasons:
1) I have family in Orlando, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Melbourne,Clarmont and Ocala whom I have not had the chance to really know in my 30 years of life that I have spent up here in Canada.
2) The Florida lifestyle seems to appeal to me as well as most of the South. I am huge fan of warm weather and love outdoor activities and I am no longer impressed with snow, I feel as though if I want to see snow I will go visit it.
3) I live in a decent sized city 200,000 pp - Windsor, Ontario across from Detroit, Michigan and after being here for so long, I am in need of a change and adventure.
4) I am single
and hope to meet a nice Southern girl as my father did when he met my mother many years ago in Florida. The dating pool here has become stale and I am sick of the six degrees of separation that I keep experiencing in this city.
My personal, educational and employment backgrounds (briefly) are as follows:
1) I obtained my 4 year Honors Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree in 2011.
2) I am currently employed as a Shift Supervisor/Charge Nurse at our local hospital on the Stroke and Orthopedic unit where I oversee 26 to 52 patients and manage 4-10 Registered Practical Nurses (our LPN equivalent). I have substantial management experience in University as well as a good volunteering background.
3) I am a Dual American and Canadian citizen therefore I have the following documents - USA Passport, Canadian Passport, Social Security Number, Social Insurance Number. I have Canadian Nursing License but I need to obtain my American Nursing License.
Timeframe: By the time I get things sorted out up here with work and money and licensing etc.. I am planning a September move or at the earliest June of 2012.
Information that I am looking for discussion on:
1) Where to Live ? taking into consideration that I am single and looking for a good Florida experience - I have done some driving around down there and realize the beach is only 2 hours away or less so not too worried about that. I love to shop and I love to golf and fish. I want to live somewhere safe and I will probably be renting to start off for the first year or so until I get to know how things work in Florida and the USA in general.
2) Where to work ? Which hospitals are good and which ones should I stay away from.
I want to become a better nurse and want to learn. As for units: I am open to working Rehab still as I really like it and the inter-professional aspect that comes with the Unit. Retirement homes - Not really looking long term care facilities - more like assisted living places. I have a very strong desire to work in Peds - been my ultimate goal since I started nursing but it is very hard to get a job up here as we only have one peds floor in our city. I am also open to working at specialist office and private practices.
3) Cost of living - This is the most confusing aspect I think I will face when I move to Florida and as I continue to do research. I have done a lot and I still can't wrap my head around it.
My current situation here in Canada is as follows - I currently work part time - as it is hard to get full time in this city. I make 31 per hour and have been at my current hospital for a year an a half - I will have just over 2 years experience when I leave. In Canada, we are taxed like crazy - 13 percent on everything - but we do get free healthcare so its a fair trade I guess. My 31 an hour equates to 31 x 37.50 = 1162 on a full time week. I pay 22 percent income tax to the Feds and 10 percent to the Ontario Govt... so basically a third of my money is taken by the Gov't if I stay here in Canada.
Gas is around 5 dollars per gallon here and I pay 120 a month on car insurance with 1 accident on a 2000 VW GTI.
I can live comfortably here paying my bills and having some spending money if I make 2700 a month renting a 1 bedroom apartment in the city center for 1350 a month all in.
I am wondering what I can expect to make in various areas of Florida ? I have looked and seen pay as low as 22 an hour ? for an RN - it seems low but I am thinking COL in Florida is less that here and might make up for lower pay ? My main question is - can an RN live comfortably in Florida or are we the working poor like in bigger Cities like Toronto and Chicago ?
I just want to know if things are kind of comparable ? If it is then I am going to jump on the plane and make this move. Ill trade snow for sun any day.
Thanks in advance for any help anyone can give me