ICU travel nursing in South florida


Hey fellow travelers!

I hope some of you can help me out in my decision making. I am currently working in a suburban hospital outside Chicago, IL because my boyfriend lives in that city. I really like travel nursing enough to keep going. I am strongly interested in choosing Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area as my next destination starting December '17. I have read tons of threads (mostly negative) about how abusive of a state FLorida really is to its travel nurses, but these threads are also a few years old, so I was hoping someone can clear up some of the funk.

My background:

This is my first assignment, and I hail from northern NJ. I grew up in NJ, and worked four years in medsurg before switching over to STICU for two years. The STICU was in a bad area of NJ with gun shootings and all, so I learned a lot about trauma nursing from there.

I guess my real question is whether it's worth to waste my time looking in Florida. I already have my FL license, and will have a family home to stay in in Hallendale Beach for the duration of the contract. I guess that's the plus since I won't have to spend on housing.

Reccomendations on any agencies to use for highest pay? Can someone clear up whether I should look for a seasonal or travel position? Which hospitals should I absolutely avoid? Which hospitals are the good eggs?

There are so many reviews, it's so discouraging, but I would like to work there. If anyone can offer some insight, it would be greatly appreciated!

I'm trying to do about another year or two of travel nursing before I head back to NJ for good. Any personal experiences of awesome assignments and where were they in the US?



1 Article; 5,766 Posts

Most reviews will be negative, that is just human nature. However, the broad negative comments about Florida, especially south Florida, are correct in general. Docs are abusive, hospitals are mostly for profit HCA and Tenet, and their management policies infect the independent hospitals. There are no unions to have a say about staffing policies so you may get crunched even in an ICU or floated to medsurg for a staffing ratio you have never seen before. You could be picked on I suppose for being a traveler but I think you will find staff gets treated the same absent a cliquey environment.

But you only live once and it is only 13 weeks. Your assignment could be delightful, and there is always the beach! If it turns out to be tough and you survive, it will make you stronger.

Hourly pay is better usually for seasonal, however your housing stipend will be taxed as ordinary income. Get offers from travel companies and compare actual take home carefully. While Florida doesn't have an income tax, you will have to pay IL tax on all your earnings.


53 Posts

As someone who started in Chicago then moved to Florida, I can attest to a lot of that. You really only want to come to Florida if you want the experience more than the pay. I was an ICU nurse when I was in Chicago and ended up switching to home health here since the pay was much better for HH, plus it was a nice change of pace (not easier, mind you, I see more in home health than I ever did in the hospital). Granted this was as non-travel, but the ICU rates I was getting quoted with, at the time, 5 years experience, was the same rate I was offered as a new grad in Chicago. Which Chicago new grad rates aren't that great to start with! Nurse pay already stinks in Illinois, and it's worse in Florida.

So if you decide to travel to South Florida make sure you're just going for the experience. The pay will be low and the work conditions less than ideal compared to even Chicago depending on which hospital you're coming out of. Seasonal jobs direct through the hospital systems like Ned mentioned might be slightly better pay wise.


21 Posts

Has 7 years experience.

thanks so much for the responses. Can you name some locations/hospitals that were bad vs. good?


53 Posts

I was looking in Central Florida, so I can imagine that South Florida was paying even less.

Best thing to do though is if you really want it, sign up with some recruiters and get some quotes. Always better than anecdotal information. :)

I'd keep my eye on Fastaff though if you want the best rates. They don't have any postings for Florida right now but best to sign up so you know when openings pop up.


12 Posts

Hey vzcookie. I am a travel nurse who has done both staff nursing and travel nursing inside the State of Florida. It is really dependent on the nursing hospital you work with. I have worked with three of the major chains inside the State of Florida and I have had experience with horrible management, poor physician practices, and mistreatment of staff nurses to travel nurses. In the end, its all dependent on the hospital. I have worked with some hospitals who have been very kind to their travel nurses, but then again I work ER so we have little interaction with patients before they are discharged or admitted. I would give it a try before you make that decision.


746 Posts

Specializes in oncology, MS/tele/stepdown. Has 6 years experience.

I did my first travel contract in Florida at an HCA facility. I heard what they said about Florida nursing and what they said about HCA facilities and did it anyway. And you know what, my four days off a week were pretty great! I'm looking to go back again - just to a different health system next time lol.