Florida Nursing: 3 Great Reasons for Becoming a Nurse in the Sunshine State
By Will Erstad on 05/16/2022
Not all jobs provide an opportunity to make a positive impact on the world. Even fewer allow you to see that positive impact up close, but nursing is one of those special professions.
If you think you might have the nursing itch, now is a great time to pursue it—particularly in the Sunshine State. With its steady influx of retirees from out of state and the ongoing retirement of the baby boomer generation of nurses, Florida is a strong contender for being one of the top states to start a nursing career. But that’s just scratching the surface—let’s take a closer look at some of the top reasons Florida is a great state for nurses.
3 Big reasons why you should pursue a nursing career in Florida
We’ve got good news for anyone considering launching a nursing career in Florida. Keep reading for some compelling things to consider.
1. Florida nursing is growing
One thing is certain: Florida needs nurses. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 187,000 registered nurses (RNs) and over 37,000 licensed practical nurses (LPNs) working in the state as of 2021.1 Those ranks appear poised to grow, as the Department of Labor projects employment of RNs in Florida to grow by 16 percent from 2018 to 2028, and LPNs to grow by 12 percent from 2018 to 2028.2
There are several reasons for this sunny outlook. First, Florida has over 5.89 million residents aged 60 years or older as of 2021—that’s 27 percent of the entire state population.3 It shouldn’t come as a surprise to residents, but this sizeable elderly population is partially due to the state’s popularity as a retirement destination. Even if shuffleboard and gated retirement communities don’t quite speak to you at this moment, the reality is that this concentration of older individuals makes for a busy local healthcare industry.
Even when the weather’s nice, time waits for no one. Older populations deal with a higher frequency of health issues, including Alzheimer’s disease, cancers and various falls and accidents. The care of these and other conditions requires nurses in all kinds of settings: emergency, long-term, memory and primary care.
It’s not just the steady influx of retirees from out of state affecting the state’s nursing needs, either. Florida’s nurses are getting older as well. As of 2019, just over 38 percent of Florida’s registered nurses are 51 or older—and over 16 percent are very near to retirement age at 61 or older, according to the Florida Center for Nursing.4
While it’s hard to derive definitive conclusions about the future of the Florida nursing workforce from this, these factors appear to be a strong indicator for the job market for nursing professionals to remain steady.
2. Florida is home to many impressive healthcare organizations
In addition to a solid outlook for future demand, Florida nurses have a wide variety of healthcare facilities they can apply to. For instance, the Gainesville, Florida, metro area has one of the highest concentrations of registered nurses in the U.S., according to the BLS.1 Much of that is due to large healthcare employers like the HCA Florida North Florida Hospital and the system of healthcare facilities affiliated with University of Florida Health.
Additionally, Florida boasts many impressive healthcare institutions, including Mayo Clinic® Jacksonville, Tampa General Hospital®, UF Health Shands Hospital and Cleveland Clinic Florida®—all of which are nationally ranked in various specialties by the U.S. News & World Report®.5
Impressive hospitals and medical centers are great, but they don’t run without nurses! We analyzed over 212,000 registered nursing and licensed practical nursing job postings from the past year to identify which healthcare organizations are hiring the most nurses in Florida. Here’s what we found, in order of quantity of listings.6
- Hospital Corporation of America®
- Baptist Health®
- Ascension Health®
- Aya Healthcare®
- Orlando Regional Healthcare
- University of Miami Health System®
- Kindred Healthcare®
- Consulate Health Care
3. Quality of life in Florida is high
There’s a lot to like about living in Florida. Warm weather, beaches and natural beauty alone keep a steady stream of visitors and permanent migrants flocking to the state, but that’s just part of what makes Florida a solid destination for setting down lasting roots as a nurse.
Florida can also be a wonderful place to raise kids. According to the U.S. News & World Report’s Best High School Rankings, which measures standardized test performance and college preparedness, nine schools hailing from the state of Florida made the top 100 nationwide.7
Already thinking about life after a nursing career? Believe it or not, eight cities in Florida were ranked in the top 10 for the best cities to retire to in 2021, according to the U.S. News & World Report.8 It’s safe to say you’ll have some solid options for kicking back when it’s time to hang up the stethoscope.
Another factor you might find appealing is that the state of Florida doesn’t collect personal income tax, increasing the amount of income its residents get to take home. Florida also boasts a ton of beautiful state parks, outstanding beaches and diverse cultural experiences to take in. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to get out there and enjoy the sunshine—and maybe spend a little more of that take-home pay.
Join Florida nursing professionals in the Sunshine State
Between the strong environment for nursing professionals, top-notch medical centers and Florida’s quality of life, there are plenty of reasons to launch or restart your nursing career in Florida. Now that you know how great it is to be a nurse in Florida, are you ready to experience it? By becoming a nurse in Florida, you’ll join a growing field, help fill a huge need and have the opportunity to make a difference in patients’ lives—all while living in a global destination.
1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, [accessed April 2022] www.bls.gov/oes. Information represents national, averaged data for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. Employment conditions in your area may vary.
2Labor Market Employment Outlook Statistics reported through CareerOneStop, [accessed April 2022]https://www.careeronestop.org/Toolkit/StateAndLocal/ProjectedEmployment.aspx?soccode=%20291141&location=fl and https://www.careeronestop.org/Toolkit/StateAndLocal/ProjectedEmployment.aspx?soccode=292061&location=fl
3“2021 Profile of Older Floridians,” Florida Department of Elder Affairs, [accessed April 2022] https://elderaffairs.org/wp-content/uploads/2021_Florida-Profile.pdf
4“Florida’s 2018-2019 Registered Nurse (RN) Workforce Supply: Characteristics and Trends,” Florida Center for Nursing, June 2020. [Accessed April 2022] https://floridasnursing.gov/forms/supply/2018-2019%20RN%20Supply%20-%20FINAL%2006.2020.pdf
5“Best Hospitals in Florida,” U.S. News & World Report, [accessed April 2022] https://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/area/fl
6Burning-Glass.com (analysis of 212,569 registered nurse and licensed practical nurse job postings, Apr. 1, 2021 – Mar. 31, 2022)
7“2021 Best U.S. High Schools,” U.S. News & World Report, [accessed April 2022] href="https://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/national-rankings">https://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/national-rankings
8“Best Places to Retire in the U.S. in 2021-2022,” U.S. News & World Report, [accessed April 2022] https://realestate.usnews.com/places/rankings/best-places-to-retire
Mayo Clinic is a registered trademark of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
Tampa General Hospital TGH is a registered trademark of Tampa General Hospital, Inc.
Cleveland Clinic Florida is a registered trademark of Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Inc.
U.S. News & World Report is a registered trademark of U.S. News & World Report, Inc.
Hospital Corporation of America is a registered trademark of Hospital Corporation of America.
AdventHealth is a registered trademark of Adventist Health System Sunbelt Healthcare Corporation.
Baptist Health is a registered trademark of Baptist Healthcare System, Inc.
Ascension Health is a registered trademark of Ascension Health Alliance.
Aya Healthcare is a registered trademark of Aya Healthcare, Inc.
Anthem is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc.
University of Miami Health System is a registered trademark of University of Miami Corporation.
Kindred Healthcare is a registered trademark of Kindred Healthcare, Inc.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in 2019 and has since been updated.