travel nursing in florida

  1. I've recently observed my situation and realize that I'm barely making enough money. I still have a significant amount of student loan to pay. I'm single and have thought about traveling specifically to Florida. I recently got my license for Florida and I'm currently practicing in NJ. I have a little over 1.5 years in nursing. One year in a nursing home and 6 months on a telemetry/cardiac floor. I'll make a year in June in the hospital and by that time I should be able to move. My questions are:
    1) what were the assignments like
    2)did you get the most challenging patients because you were new?
    3)what travel agency did you use?
    4) did you receive medical benefits or did you have to purchase it on your own?
    5) did you receive a housing stipend?
    6)did you Have to live with roommates?
    7) what is your best advice/tip to me?

    Thanks for your time
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  2. 48 Comments

  3. by   NedRN
    I can answer those generically and you might find it helpful:

    1. All over the place from wonderful to horrible (just like any job)
    2. Some places, but more because you are the traveler than new
    3. Hundreds of agencies staff Florida, so travelers have used hundreds of different ones
    4. Either or neither (technically there is now a penalty for neither)
    5. Yes, unless you took provided housing
    6. Have to? No. But it is often the best way to bank more money
    7. Well, south Florida is wonderful (they have most of the travel assignments), but very generally the working conditions suck. For profit hospitals, no unions, high ratios, and docs with attitudes. Other parts of Florida may be better, but generally the South is not as good to work in as other parts of the country. Pay is also lower.

    You will not get the best assignments with only a year of medsurg. Just warning you. A better specialty or at least more time will be better grounding for intense assignments. You have to understand that agencies bill a flat hourly rate for your services no matter your experience. So when you are competing for an assignment against someone with 10 years of experience and 2 years of travel, who do you think the manager will pick? It will be tough starting out.
  4. by   empatheticRN
    Quote from NedRN
    I can answer those generically and you might find it helpful:

    1. All over the place from wonderful to horrible (just like any job)
    2. Some places, but more because you are the traveler than new
    3. Hundreds of agencies staff Florida, so travelers have used hundreds of different ones
    4. Either or neither (technically there is now a penalty for neither)
    5. Yes, unless you took provided housing
    6. Have to? No. But it is often the best way to bank more money
    7. Well, south Florida is wonderful (they have most of the travel assignments), but very generally the working conditions suck. For profit hospitals, no unions, high ratios, and docs with attitudes. Other parts of Florida may be better, but generally the South is not as good to work in as other parts of the country. Pay is also lower.

    You will not get the best assignments with only a year of medsurg. Just warning you. A better specialty or at least more time will be better grounding for intense assignments. You have to understand that agencies bill a flat hourly rate for your services no matter your experience. So when you are competing for an assignment against someone with 10 years of experience and 2 years of travel, who do you think the manager will pick? It will be tough starting out.
    Well appreciated. Did you say there is penalty for the travel agency if they don't provide medical insurance?
  5. by   NedRN
    No, probably not. I think the rules are something like 50 FTEs before an agency has to provide insurance. But individuals not carrying insurance will have a penalty on their tax return.
  6. by   Hex
    Quote from NedRN
    7. Well, south Florida is wonderful (they have most of the travel assignments), but very generally the working conditions suck. For profit hospitals, no unions, high ratios, and docs with attitudes. Other parts of Florida may be better, but generally the South is not as good to work in as other parts of the country. Pay is also lower.
    I'm from Miami and worked there for 3 years before I started traveling, and can tell you that what Ned said is right on the money. There are better places to travel to, but I understand that you have your heart set on Florida (same as I did with NYC.) Try to get a little more experience because you never know what you may encounter as a traveler, and you want to be able to deal with it.
  7. by   empatheticRN
    Quote from Hex
    I'm from Miami and worked there for 3 years before I started traveling, and can tell you that what Ned said is right on the money. There are better places to travel to, but I understand that you have your heart set on Florida (same as I did with NYC.) Try to get a little more experience because you never know what you may encounter as a traveler, and you want to be able to deal with it.
    Thank you for responding.
  8. by   Rod, Male Nurse
    Hi empatheticRN, my primary residence is in Florida and I've done travel assignments in Florida. Here's what I can tell you for travel assignments and its extremely important. Before you accept any assignment look the hospital up online (allnurses is a great resource) for nurse and travel nurse reviews. Florida has some of the highest patient ratios out there and you may get stuck in a 12 week contract at a facility that deals our 6-7 patients on a day shift, 7-8 on a night shift. If you research the hospital nurse reviews you'll save yourself a ton of trouble.
    Also, don't let your recruiter shaft you on pay because its "Florida". Yes its a low paying state but you can still make good money. In the small cities, as a traveler, you should "take home" 1200ish a week if you take the housing stipend.
    And 1 year is the bare minimum experience you need. If you are extremely comfortable with your skills at 1 year then you could start traveling...that's what I did and I had no trouble.

    One other thing I find to be true is that most people treat you the same as the other staff nurses but there will always be charge nurses that give you the harder assignment and give their staff the easier. Most places treat you as their own after a couple weeks and it is no problem finding other nurses to get help when you need it. I havnt had an assignment yet that they didn't do their best to keep me/hire me on when my contract finished.
    Last edit by Rod, Male Nurse on Jan 29, '15 : Reason: more info
  9. by   empatheticRN
    Quote from Rod, Male Nurse
    Hi empatheticRN, my primary residence is in Florida and I've done travel assignments in Florida. Here's what I can tell you for travel assignments and its extremely important. Before you accept any assignment look the hospital up online (allnurses is a great resource) for nurse and travel nurse reviews. Florida has some of the highest patient ratios out there and you may get stuck in a 12 week contract at a facility that deals our 6-7 patients on a day shift, 7-8 on a night shift. If you research the hospital nurse reviews you'll save yourself a ton of trouble.
    Also, don't let your recruiter shaft you on pay because its "Florida". Yes its a low paying state but you can still make good money. In the small cities, as a traveler, you should "take home" 1200ish a week if you take the housing stipend.
    And 1 year is the bare minimum experience you need. If you are extremely comfortable with your skills at 1 year then you could start traveling...that's what I did and I had no trouble.

    One other thing I find to be true is that most people treat you the same as the other staff nurses but there will always be charge nurses that give you the harder assignment and give their staff the easier. Most places treat you as their own after a couple weeks and it is no problem finding other nurses to get help when you need it. I havnt had an assignment yet that they didn't do their best to keep me/hire me on when my contract finished.
    Thanks much Rod I really found your information very useful and it has definitely given me a very good image about travel nursing.
    You mentioned that you should take home 1200 ish with housing. How much do they offer for housing stipend? I'm interested in the fort myers, bonita springs and Naples area what do you think about those areas? Also I have several pieces of furniture do you think I should put these in storage? I think it would probably wind up defeating the purpose of gaining extra cash if I keep moving around with these items to each assignment. Did you get a furnished place each time ?
    Last edit by empatheticRN on Jan 30, '15
  10. by   Rod, Male Nurse
    I have found that bringing extra stuff around with you is just unneeded stress added to your move. Bring what you need. Store or sell the rest.
    As far as housing stipends in those areas I would guess they are at around 2k/month (plus or minus 200$). I just got an offer today for a ft. Lauderdale assignment (pretty much directly east on the other coast of Florida) and the housing is 2300. Take in to consideration that some travel agencies have higher hourly rates with lower stipends while others do the opposite. Either way all that really matters is what you will be taking home. If you need further advice I can help.
    Last edit by Esme12 on Feb 5, '15
  11. by   Tooimpatient
    I know this is an older post but maybe someone will see, but my question is, since you have been to so many different facilities in Florida are there any areas you recommend? Or would say to stay away from? I'm in Alabama and just applied for my Florida license today and after I've read so many negative things on this website about FL I'm honestly a little terrified.....lol. I've been a nurse for 2 years on a Med-Surg floor but it's a smaller hospital and we don't see as much as some others so although I feel competent at my job I'm worried I will come across a lot I'm not familiar with while traveling.....I hope it can be a learning experience and I will broaden my knowledge but I don't want to get in over my head.
  12. by   Rod, Male Nurse
    Are you wanting to do this as a travel nurse or relocate? The main thing you want to look for is patient ratios. Florida is known for having a higher patient ratio than most states but you can find hospitals that are better than most. Do your research on that before you commit to a facility. The pay in fl varies pretty considerably depending on where you go. One location could yield you 1200/month housing while others might be 2800...

    Another thing to consider is location and amenities. Beach? Theme parks? Both? If you want to experience FL then consider that.
    One last thing, FL has allot of seasonal residents that leave when it warms up and head back north. All this means is that the need for additional staffing at facilities is reduced and the job search becomes harder but certainly not impossible. I'm in FL as a traveler for the 2nd summer in a row and had no difficulty.
  13. by   empatheticRN
    Quote from Tooimpatient
    I know this is an older post but maybe someone will see, but my question is, since you have been to so many different facilities in Florida are there any areas you recommend? Or would say to stay away from? I'm in Alabama and just applied for my Florida license today and after I've read so many negative things on this website about FL I'm honestly a little terrified.....lol. I've been a nurse for 2 years on a Med-Surg floor but it's a smaller hospital and we don't see as much as some others so although I feel competent at my job I'm worried I will come across a lot I'm not familiar with while traveling.....I hope it can be a learning experience and I will broaden my knowledge but I don't want to get in over my head.
    Based on my research, I've read good reviews on NCH in Naples Florida. Most have said to stay away from Delray Beach medical Center. I'm still looking but I was trying to find something closer to where my mom lives.
  14. by   Tooimpatient
    I will be traveling. Well that's good to hear, the only thing is so far when I've applied for certain areas it just names the city and not the specific hospital but obviously I would find that out at a time it is discussed with my recruiter. Right now I'm looking into several different agencies, I haven't read anything negative about Trinity so far so I may end up going with them. I've also heard good things about Medical Staffing Solutions. Who do you use? I've seen positions I'm interested in at Jacksonville, Panama City and Orlando. I definitely want to be near the beach. It's not so much about the money as it is the experience and location. I just want to be exposed to different things than what I normally see at my smaller hospital and be able to enjoy myself outside of work too

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