Thinking about nursing in sunny Florida? Questions about school, the job, money and all the rest?
I'm sitting here at work on a slow evening and I felt like writing a little primer about Nursing in Florida. I have been at this gig for 20 years, and if you include my dues paid as the son of a 50 year ICU nurse, then I have pretty much been born and bred for this gig.
First off... all of you Yankees thinking about coming to Florida... you are not going to get paid what you make up north. Get over it. However, on the upside, you don't have state income tax, not union dues and 100k buys a LOT of house in florida.
Lpn's paid about 20 (give or take a buck or 2)
RN's make $25-$30 (unit managers in long term care make about 65k)
ARNP will get you about 80-100k
LPN are not going to get a hospital job for the most part. they are phased out from acute care and are utilized in long term care or skilled nursing... the latter of which looks like a med surg/ortho floor 20 years ago, acuity wise
Its not hard to find work, but the florida board of nursing does not have a sense of humor that anyone has discovered. Disclose everything.... no matter how trivial or far in the past. they WILL find everything you ever did..... including that cookie you stole when you were 8
The BON is understanding if you have a past... they just want you to be honest about it. You will have to explain yourself if you screwed up back in the day.... but if its been 3-5 years and you have been a good citizen, your chances are good for approval....
When it comes to nursing school... grades count... a lot. Not for getting a job.... just for entrance (then no one gives a hoot). If you are going to the community colleges, you better have 3.0 minimum.... 3.5 to be remotely competitive. The local state colleges get many hundreds of applicants every semester and accept about 35 (not even exaggerating a little bit)
More than likely youll be going to the private schools..... to the tune of $30-$50k when its all said and done. Also not exaggerating. those schools will be accredited and you will be able to sit for the boards, but most nursed carry more in school debt than they paid for their little florida style starter home.
The good news is that if you work for a non profit for a decade and make your payments during that time, the feds will wipe out most of your remaining debt. (Or you can play the many many lotto games we have in florida)
There is a huge difference between lpn and rn. Like it or not, nurses eat their young. They always have, and they always will. A lot of new rns that were bridged over old lpns have a cocky attitude and will treat their cohorts like red headed stepchildren.
A good CNA (paid $12-$14 and hour) is still worth their weight in gold and are not given nearly the credit or respect they are deserved. They save the nurses ***** on the regular and are often the first to notice a serious clinical change because they know their people like the back of their hand... up close and personal (if you know what I mean)
Legally, there isn't much difference between lpn and rn in florida. Nurse practice act pretty much says lpn cant hang blood, chemo or push IV meds (no regular iv unless they take the 30 hour iv course). There is that little sentence where it says (lpn works under the direction of the rn)... which is a crock in practicality. Your license is your license and if you screw up, its on you... you can pass it off on someone else...
Frankly, with staffing always so short rn and lpn work side by side in many facilities with very little, to no difference.... a nurse is a nurse on some level. Make no mistake... for those of you thinking lpn or rn.... there IS a difference in money and initial critical thinking training... but in the end, its up to you to keep your skills sharp and always be learning.
A lot of old war horses forget their passion. There is a high degree of burn out. Don't let a miserably old bat ruin you as a nurse. Step back from time to time and remember why you became a nurse in the first place
Maybe you start as an lpn to start making money and bridge over to rn
Maybe you stay an lpn and earn a good living
Maybe you go straight to RN
(Don't go nursing if you think you are going to be a doctor... its not the same career..... and I know a lot of docs who are pretty sure that its not even close to being worth it). Whatever you choose.... remember what nursing is all about.... caring, compassion and looking after those in need, who may be at their lowest (or last) point in life
Don't come for the money... just be good at what you do, and the money will be there
don't do it for the blood and guts and cool medical procedures... med carts and chest tubes get old real quick. Be there for the people who need you
ps. if you are a male, you will be a minority in a sea of beautiful women who like to compete for attention. Do your self a favor... shut up, don't flirt and don't let a little **** ruin your job. there is always one (or 4) in every facility. every guy has had to change jobs on the fly for unzipping his fly lmao