Similar to Arizona, Florida sees a lot of retirees and they need a lot of travel nurses as a result. I envy the birds flying south for the winter—many of them head to Florida—so how could I blame travel nurses and the patients they serve from doing the same. You don’t just have the retirees in Florida. You also get elderly folks headed to Florida to escape the harsher winters up north. As a result Florida needs more nurses during the winter than any other time of year. This phenomenon leads to an influx of travel nursing jobs in Florida at this time.
So it’s okay to think I’m cold as heck, I’m headed to Disney World.
A license to nurse
You’ve taken your NCLEX and kept your certifications up to date. So what comes next? Applying for a nursing license in Florida. You have to submit the following to the Florida Board of Nursing within 30 days of receipt of your application:
- Submit application with appropriate fees ($110)
- Get electronically fingerprinted by a Livescan service provider
- Request verification of your active license (with the state you’re currently licensed in) to be sent to the Florida Board of Nursing
- Undergo a review with an application specialist
If you want to learn more about the licensing process, check out the Florida Board of Nursing’s website http://floridasnursing.gov/licensing/
Advantages and Disadvantages of Seasonal Contracts
The influx of winter positions are due to seasonal contracts. Many travel nurses find work in Florida during cold spells, but there are downsides to seasonal contracts.
Yes, there are a lot more travel nursing positions in Florida during the winter months, which means that you’ll get a lot of opportunities to apply to various medical facilities, but there’s a lot of competition for these contracts. It works similar to the lottery—only the odds are a heck of a lot better for travel nurses. So long as the big prize is small, your likelihood of winning increases, but the larger cash prizes mean that there are more people applying for it.
Seasonal contracts also tend to be less flexible. This means that you can’t set your own dates. If your current contract ends too late, you could miss your window for the seasonal contract. The same could be said if your current contract ends far too soon. If you don’t have this kind of flexibility, you may want to consider working elsewhere during the winter.
The pay rates in Florida remain stable no matter if you travel from a high cost of living to a lower cost of living. So you should be able to pocket more cash if you go to an area of Florida with a lower cost of living.
Just in case you’re wondering here’s the current composite index score (based on a score of 100% as average) for seven of Florida’s most popular destinations.
Fort Lauderdale: 115.7
Miami-Dade County: 106.0
Panama City: 99.4
Housing in Florida
This seasonal things snowballs to all walks of Floridian life. Since Florida’s a popular destination for tourists and snow birds, it has a glut of furnished condos, homes, and apartments that accept short-term leases. That’s music to travel nurses’ ears.
But beware, housing can be expensive during the season and you may have a hard time finding a place that accepts pets.
Florida’s a great place to winter, but you’ll have to set your schedule far in advance. The best months with which to find a job are October, December, and March. Stay warm this winter, travel to the Sunshine State.