Despite the current economic challenges, the job market for registered nurses (RNs) is strong, both in Florida & across the nation. The nursing shortage, though perhaps temporarily eased by the increase in recession-related nursing employment, continues to be a looming problem for Florida. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that demand for RNs will increase more than any other type of worker through 2016, with more than new 587,000 RN positions projected during this time in the United States. Annual openings for RNs in Florida due to growth and separation of nurses in the workforce exceed are close to 7,000 (Florida Center for Nursing, 2010).
Hospitals remain the largest employer of nurses but the employment trend is toward community-based employment. Hospitals' critical care areas (ER, OR, CCU, ICUs) remain those areas hit hardest by the shortage as they demand experienced clinical nurses.
The average beginning hourly wage for new graduate RNs in Northwest Florida is $18.09; the mean wage is $24.26, compared to the state average wage of $26.29. Regional variations exist, especially in hospitals offering shift differentials and other benefits.
Florida Center for Nursing. (2010). Workforce Demand in Nursing-Intensive Healthcare Settings