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March 2000 findings from the National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses showed Florida and the South having higher percentages of RNs under age 40 than nationally. But in the South, as elsewhere, RNs between ages 40 and 54 at the time of the survey constitute the bulk of practicing nurses-those approaching the peak of their careers. While they may not be ready to stop working, they may at least be looking ahead to retirement. Florida and the South have great opportunities for these seasoned nurses, as well as for others just starting out.


The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that population growth from 2000 to 2005 in most states in this area of the country exceeded the national average. Florida (at 11.3%) and Georgia (at 10.8%) had the highest rates, but Texas, North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, and Maryland were all above the national average. Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana were growing, but more slowly.


Housing and cost of living have historically been bargains in many parts of the South, and southern locations are well represented in Money magazine's 2006 lists of best places to retire. These places may be well worth considering for nurses planning ahead. St. Simons Island, Georgia, is ranked second among Money's top-five best towns, with Southeast Georgia Health System in nearby Brunswick. The town rated fifth best is Williamsburg, Virginia, home of Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center. Sugar Land, Texas; Columbia, Maryland; and Cary, North Carolina, are ranked third, fourth, and fifth, respectively, among Money's 10 best small cities. There are two small hospitals in Sugar Land. Columbia has Howard County General Hospital, and Cary has WakeMed Cary Hospital.


Money's top-10 big cities for retirement include Austin, Texas, at number two; Raleigh, North Carolina, at number four; and Virginia Beach, Virginia, at number six. Each of these cities is served by multiple hospitals. Among Austin's are St. David's Medical Center's five campuses and Seton Medical Center's five centers, including Brackenridge Hospital. Raleigh has WakeMed Raleigh Campus and Rex Healthcare. Virginia Beach has Sentara Bayside Hospital and Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital.


Your Guide to Job Opportunities in the Southern States and Florida


Cape Fear Valley Health System P.O. Box 2000, Fayetteville, NC 28302-2000, Contact: Mary Hatfield, Recruiter, (800) 624-3616, Fax: (910) 609-7907, E-mail:, Web site:


Duke Medicine DUMC 3714, Durham, NC 27710, Contact: Nurse Recruitment, (800) 232-6877 (BE-A-NURS), Web site:


Orlando Regional Healthcare 1414 Kuhl Ave, MP-113, Orlando, FL 32806, Contact: Robert Holmes, III, (800) 327-8402, Fax: (407) 237-6374, E-mail:, Web site: