I'm sorry- I meant the Shands in Gainesville. They were fantastic, really. Yes, I'm sure that there will be openings later. Remember though, too, that Shands in Gain. is associated with a nursing school
(U of Fl)- at graduation time, many of them tend to apply there. So, keep your foot in the door by keeping in touch with the recruiter if you can.
I know that many (not all, but a lot) hospitals have "relocation packages" that they'll send to you (I've got a mountain of them). Both Shands and Arnold Palmer sent me large packets including info on patient ratios (at Shands), salary bases, differentials, unit descriptions, and benefits information. When I called, I just told them that I was moving to the area and asked if they could send me whatever they had- *including* the benefits and salary starting ranges, if that was available. Some hospitals will discuss salary with you, others are wierd about it, but to me, that's a huge consideration (I mean, if we can't afford to eat or clothe ourselves, maybe we shouldn't work there!). Shands and APH were great. The recruiter I spoke to at APH was named Jennifer Goldstein, and she could be hard to get in touch with, but she always returned my calls and was supersuper friendly. Maybe if you ask for her by name they'll get you to her personal voice mail. I'd give you what I had, but I threw it away once we ruled out the Orlando area.
As far as volunteering, definitely check into your area right away and see if there is a pediatric or NICU that you could volunteer at- once or more a week. Some NICUs let people volunteer as a cuddler for the babies, and this would get you on the unit and look great on your resume, as well as help you start learning about babies. Just call around and ask for the Volunteer Services coordinator. Any experience, whether pediatric (can you read stories to the kids? Play with them? etc.) or nursery (cuddling, etc.) is better than none, and it shows that you're serious about wanting to work in that area. If you don't have anything available like that, check your area for programs that cater to moms/babies (i.e., classes, clinics, etc.) for volunteer opportunities. Good luck!