Is nursing in Florida (Miami) really as bad as it sounds?

  1. I am a nursing student in NYC, but I am originally from California. I will be graduating in May 2013 with my BSN. I visited my best friend living in Miami and I fell in LOVE with it (the culture and pace being in right in between CA and NY), so I'm moving there as soon as I graduate. I am curious if what I read about nursing in Florida really as HORRIBLE as it sounds? Starting pay being $22 an hour?!? And no nursing union?? It will be wayyy cheaper for me to survive in Florida versus here in NY, but the pay/no union is extremely disappointing. Yes, I will be a new grad with no experience, but I did recieve my BSN. I am interested in becoming an ER nurse, but I would work on a Med-Surg floor temporarily for experience. Nursing is a PROFESSION and should be treated as such.Any nurses in Florida please fill me in on the pros/cons...
    Last edit by Laurenslovely on Feb 19, '12
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    About Laurenslovely

    Joined: Jul '11; Posts: 96; Likes: 20
    Nursing Student; from US


  3. by   Silverdragon102
    Moved to the Florida state forum
  4. by   FLmomof5
    My brother is an RN in Manhattan. I am an RN in SC for now....Jacksonville, in the future. (My home is in Jax, but hubby has final active duty tour in SC....)

    Anyway, my brother looked at moving to FL but was horrified at the pay disparity. I pointed out that he got a VERY small apt in NYC for $3000 per month. (That is nearly my full month's net pay!) Our home in FL is 2000 sq ft, 4 BR, 2 BA on a decent sized lot with a beautiful back deck my husband built. We pay $1350/mo PITI (principle, interest, taxes, insurance). My parents and my sister's family live on Long Island. Their annual property tax is around $8000(!) where mine is $3000 for a much larger (and newer) house. BTW, both mom and sis are nurses too!

    Both my brother and I are smokers. Here a pack of Marlboro's is $5.50. There, over $10. Gasoline is cheaper and 99% of our roads and bridges are toll free! You never have to scrape windows in the winter! But, it is hot and humid. I have never been to Miami, so I can't talk about their traffic, but I laugh at what they call rush hour here!!! Try the LIE, BQE or the Cross Bronx Expressway someday and THAT is traffic!!! LOL

    FL has 0 income tax. If you work in NYC, you will pay Fed income tax, NY state income tax and NYC income tax. No small chunk of change!

    Florida is a right to work state. In my 49.9 yrs of life, I have never worked where there was a union. Never harmed me. No, I don't earn what my brother does, but I have a more laid back style of living, enjoy the river and the beach, we have jet skis, motorcycles(1 Honda VTX1900 and 1 Harley), and a boat. We also have road bicycles which can be ridden nearly all year and 2 kiacks (sp?). Spring is here already and all the trees are in bloom. I am sitting on my back deck right now while typing this. It is a comfy 69 degrees out right now and Miami is warmer!

    In Jacksonville, my fellow classmates got jobs paying $21.50/hour base. SC gave me $22.50 but they have 5% state my classmates take home more.

    Miami is a democrat stronghold in FL, so if you are a democrat, you will be among like-minded folk. It is also heavily hispanic, so I would highly recommend you learn Spanish. I am sure that will help your application stand out among those who can't.

    California is also, as you can remember, a very high cost of living state with nightmareish traffic. In 1984, when I was a young 2LT in the USAF, I was stationed there. A 1 BR apt with NO AC was $575/mo....50% of my net pay! Three years later....I rented a 3 BR 1500 sq ft townhouse outside of Eglin AFB in Ft Walton Beach FL for $390/mo! At that point, that 1 BR in CA was now $750/mo.

    If you look around the country, you will find that all your union states are also high cost of living. It goes hand in hand. When an employer has to pay more for his employees, he raises the cost of his product to the buyer. Homes cost a ton because union construction workers cost more than non-unionized. Everything is taxed heavily in those areas because of the political landscape there.

    When you sit down and do the complete math, you will most likely find that you will have the same, or better, lifestyle in a right to work state as you would in a state that is unionized. Many of the union nurses here might disagree with me.....the only difference I see a union make for nurses is in CA where in acute care, nurse to patient ratios are mandated and reasonable. In FL, you will find you get 1:6 or 7 on a Med/Surg floor. In my SC hospital, I get 1:5 at nights and it isn't unionized. My hospital is owned by Tenet. In FL, I see from posts here, Tenet isn't so generous in ratios.

    You have to ask yourself what it is you are looking for....a high paycheck that spends just as quickly or a low paycheck where you can hit the beach whenever you want! Another point about taxes.....If you, as a NYC nurse, marry another NYC nurse, your joint income will cross that magical line of $250K and you will be in that group of "rich" that "needs to pay their fair share"! Do the same here, and you are nowhere close to that!

    A bit of history here....I was raised as 1 of 5 children to an Active Duty USAF officer and nurse wife. I lived all over the country. I went to St Francis Prep in Fresh Meadows, Queens for HS and Manhattan College for my first degree in Electrical Engineering. I became an RN in Feb 2011. I have my ADN. I earn the same as the BSN's here. However, I plan on going to USA(south alabama) for my RN-MSN in Informatics beginning this Summer.

    FL is the retirement capital of the country and you will be among familiar folks d/t NY retirements here. NPs are going to be a mainstay of medicine down here as the boomers retire and Obamacare takes over. Get your NP and you will be in high cotton down here!

    Good Luck in whatever you choose!
  5. by   iridium54
    I'd like to hear any opinions on current RNs working in the Miami area. Any input?
    flmomof5 / summed it up very well.

    miami traffic is terrible but i've never been to ny. make sure you research the job market and availablity in miami. things are very tuff now.
  7. by   Laurenslovely
    Thanks, the traffic is not really what I am concerned about, more like finding a job and with good pay. Traffic is horrible in CA and New York your in traffic while even walking.
  8. by   SeaH20RN
    Just moved from California/LA area to Fort Lauderdale ( just North of Miami). I love living in Florida, the clean warm beaches & clean air. But worse than LA. The population is very diverse. The drivers are crazy! The pay is low compared to California but so is the cost of living. Avg. pay $ 28.00-$30.00. For a new Grad. Good luck on your move.
  9. by   heydelilah
    Do you speak spanish or creole? Chances of getting hired in MIA without one or the other is slim, but not impossible.
  10. by   Nurseamanda00
    If you don't know spanish or creole it will be very hard to perform your job effectively, and some places won't even consider hiring you in Miami. Same is becoming true of Orlando. I have a friend who works L&D in Miami and she makes $27.25 with 6 years experience. I agree flmomof5, FL has a lot of perks but salary is usually not one of them.

    There are plenty of great cities around Miami that aren't as awful when it comes to traffic and crime. I like Ft. Lauderdale myself.
  11. by   Tragically Hip
    Miami, LA, and NYC aren't the only places in existence in the U.S. I grew up in Miami, lived in the Boston area for a lot of years, and am now back in Miami. You have no idea what a weird place this is until you've been away.

    It's true that there's no income tax, but the sales tax is high, and you pay the same rate no matter how rich or poor you are. (In fact, a brief sales tax holiday for back-to-school supplies ends tonight). That may be true as well in LA and NYC, but it's not true in other locales. Also, car insurance and flood insurance are not cheap here. The cost of gasoline is about average. Heating bills are low, but air conditioning bills are high. For the most part, the quality of public schools is substandard. Compared to NYC and LA, culturally, Miami is a backwater -- and I'm involved in the arts community here. It's no intellectual mecca.

    Because of the devastating real estate crash we had, you can still find good deals on forclosed property if you want to buy a house or condo, though the best deals have been bought by speculators, setting us up for another crash. It's hard to make sense of the real estate market here. Rents are still fairly reasonable.

    There are many schools here cranking out large numbers of new RNs, so the job market for RNs is saturated. In addition, the main employer of nurses and other medical personnel, the county hospital, is suffering financial distress, to put it mildly. They've had two waves of layoffs of nurses in the past few years. I'm not trying to say that it's impossible to get a job here, but, I'm saying it can be difficult, especially for a new grad. That is why pay is low.

    In addition, if you're used to the way things are done in top, world-class medical centers across the country, you'll think you've stepped back in time if you work in a hospital here, in terms of process, medical record, etc. Understaffing is legion. I can't honestly say I'd like to be a patient in many of the hospitals in the county. That has an impact on the work environment in a way that will affect you quality of life.

    Also, we sometimes get a lot of hurricanes. Several years ago it seemed like we were getting two a year. You'll have to deal with it. If you live on Miami Beach (where there is a large hospital) or within a few blocks of the water (Biscayne Bay) in Miami, you will be in a mandatory evacuation (flood) zone in the case that a hurricane, even a "small," category 1 storm, heads this way. It's just something everyone has to deal with, but something that really affects critical emergency personnel such as nurses. But then, since traffic is as bad as it gets in this country, and evacuation of the area would be nearly impossible, at least you'll have a place to be in a hurricane.

    Culturally and anthropologically, Miami is one of the most interesting places in the nation. However, you'd better be reasonably fluent in Spanish to make a go of it here. Haitian Creole would be helpful as well, but unless you've lived in Haiti, that will be a long shot.

    There are a lot of places that offer a high quality of life, depending upon your interests, and many of them have a better salary to cost of living ration than Miami does. If you come to live here, it really should be because you really like the place, or like to party all night, or have interests that can be fulfilled here. Unless you're a doctor, lawyer, international business person, or gangster, it's hard to make a career flourish here.
    Last edit by Tragically Hip on Aug 5, '12
  12. by   Tragically Hip
    Take a look at NYCRN16's post in this thread about finding a nursing job as a new grad, especially if you're from out of state.
  13. by   TheLiberation
    I have lived around the Miami area since I was a little girl and now work as an LPN here, I can't imagine any professional reasons that I would wish to stay here longer than necessary. Pay is very low in comparison to other states, who do have their own issues such as a greater cost of living. Although the baby boomers in the theory would create a surplus of jobs, finding a job without knowing that certain "somebody," is very hard. The jobs that you do end up finding sometimes have indescribable patient ratios. Although no sales tax is always great, the BIPOLAR, and extremely HUMID weather is completely a deterrent for people who have been living here for years like me. For people who visit for a couple of days, weeks or even months, no amount of time other than a permanent residency which allow you to understand that all that warm and nice weather is a thing of the past. The weather changes quickly and extremely as of late making being outside unbearable at times. Traffic is traffic is traffic IS traffic. As long as you have a job that affords you being able to find other routes to get to work, you can and may get stuck in very slow moving traffic. Housing is on the rise, with rent prices much higher than before and although prices for homes have dropped, a gradual increase is starting to occur again especially with foreign investors who send their agents to just buy up properties without even a look. As a nurse who is looking to one day go further with her education and what not, I would not recommend Miami at all.
  14. by   Tragically Hip
    Quote from TheLiberation
    The jobs that you do end up finding sometimes have indescribable patient ratios. Although no sales tax is always great, the BIPOLAR, and extremely HUMID weather is completely a deterrent for people who have been living here for years like me.
    I hate to say this, but TheLiberation's post makes a lot of sense. I don't mind the weather though; I enjoy the subtropical (often tropical) climate here, though many find the humidity generally unbearable.

    We don't have an income tax, but we have a steep sales tax, which is especially painful if you're just trying to get by.

    But the patient ratios in a lot of places-I don't know how it's legal, but I've come to understand that, as a society, we don't care much about the elderly. It seems that whatever social ills befall the U.S., they're amplified in South Florida.