Travel Nursing Series: Travel Nursing in Greece


Why do people travel? Perhaps the simple passion for travel urges people to see new places and have new experiences or the need to get away from stress or daily pressures at home or work. Some may want to make a religious pilgrimage to a sacred site or a new career may beckon. Whatever the reason, traveling allows you to establish a connection in another country, meet different people and experience different cultures.

One of the easiest careers to “take on the road” is that of the healthcare professional. Doctors and nurses are in demand in every country in the world and it is easy to find work abroad. Nursing skills are universal, and those of nurses in the United States are among the most advanced. Getting certified to work abroad in a foreign country, while a bit tedious, is relatively easy. Usually, a placement agency can help guide the American nurse through the process. Salary and benefits are in line with standard travel nursing guidelines. Subsidized housing, signing bonuses, paid vacations, and health insurance are offered, depending on the particular job. You will need to pack your own nursing uniforms and nursing shoes as these items are not provided by the employer.

Nurses in Greece are in high demand. To find and apply for a position as a nurse in Greece, it is best to use a professional agency to help with the procedure. Travel nurse agencies help guide nurses to find the ideal job in Greece. International job applications can be overwhelming with the amount of paperwork required, but a good agency will help with the necessary visas and certifications. The agencies are the intermediary between the employer and the nurse, negotiating a contract that is beneficial to both parties. They will provide job details, such as work hours, overtime regulations, and nursing uniform requirements. Many international hospitals have embraced the American trend of wearing medical uniforms instead of traditional nursing uniforms. Buying medical uniforms in Greece can be difficult, but online websites that offer a wide selection of medical uniforms at discount prices are available for your uniform needs.

The Greek national health system provides basic medical service to Greek citizens and has a reciprocal agreement with the British National Health Service. There are many public and private hospitals in Greece, all with different standards. Some private hospitals have affiliations with US facilities.These hospitals are an excellent resource for American nurses seeking positions abroad in Greece. Staff doctors at these private hospitals have received training in the US or other international educational institution. In public medical clinics, especially on the Greek islands, very little English is often spoken. Many visitors from Greece and Greek citizens are transferred from the island’s care units to the hospitals of the Athens hospitals to receive more modern and professional care.

Medical facilities in Greece range from barely adequate to very good. Public hospitals are understaffed, especially during the night shift in non-emergency rooms. Nursing jobs in these facilities is a very demanding job. Nursing and aftercare standards, particularly in the public health sector, lag behind what is normally acceptable in the United States. To ensure adequate care, those patients who can afford it hire private nurses to care for them during their hospital stay. For those with good insurance coverage, private hospitals are available with modern facilities and excellent care. Travel nurses generally get jobs, either in a private hospital or as a private nurse in the public hospital. Knowledge of Greek is, of course, useful. Doctors and facilities are generally good on the mainland, but may be limited on the islands. It is possible to survive in English, but it will take time to translate patients. In public medical clinics, especially on the Greek islands, very little English is often spoken.

Life on the Greek islands is quite different from that of the United States. Greeks enjoy life today at completely flexible hours. The relaxed attitude of the Greeks towards time is similar to that of the Brazilians, rarely doing today what can be postponed until tomorrow. It takes a little effort on the part of the travel nurse to lower expectations over time. The Greek word “philoxenia” means “love to strangers”, making the traveling nurse welcome into Greek life with great exuberance. There are many religious festivals and family celebrations.

The day starts early in Greece, before the heat of the day begins. Afternoon naps last from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Many workers return to their jobs after nap to work until 8 pm. Dinner time rarely begins before 10:00 p.m. M. And it often lasts past midnight. Travel nurses will need to adjust their internal meal clock to join the social scene in Greece.

Strikes and demonstrations occur regularly in Greece and are damaging, especially if you are going to work. These events are normally orderly, but if necessary tear gas will be used for riot control. Local news sources keep locals up to date with news of the protests. Wallet thieves and collection pockets operate in tourist spots and crowded public transportation, just like in any public area.

Free time from work should be spent visiting the many wonders of Greek civilization. Public ferries run between the islands, making access to ancient sites easy and affordable. There are numerous good Greek travel guides available to detail the many sites to visit.

Traveling by car in Greece can be an adventure in itself. Temporary Greek residents must carry their valid driver’s license from their home country as well as an International Driving Permit (IDP). Drivers who do not carry an IDP can be penalized for not having one in the event of an accident, and may also be open to a civil lawsuit. Heavy traffic and poor roads present risks, especially at night or in inclement weather. Many roads are often poorly maintained and often bumpy.

Greece has a list of “must-see” sites that are unparalleled. First and foremost is the Acropolis in Athens. Situated on rocky terrain high above the streets of the city, the Acropolis represents classical Greek culture at its peak. A visit to Olympia, the site of the original Olympics and the ruins of Epidaurus, where the ancient theater is still in use for festivals, are places for tourists. A popular destination in Crete for tourists is the Minoan palace at Knossos and the opportunity to experience Macedonian culture and see the tomb of Philip II of Macedonia draws people to explore Vergina. The opportunities to explore ancient Greek culture are limitless and a stay in Greece as a travel nurse will give you enough time to get to know this wonderful country and its friendly people.

One of the first things you will notice as you travel around Greece is the wide variety of garbage scattered practically everywhere. The slopes are awash with discarded gadgets, cans. Bottles, boxes, ropes, and other trash, leaving the traveler wondering why the locals no longer appreciate the stunning scenery. The beaches and the sea are not exempt. Plastic bags, bottles, and cans float regularly.

The half-finished buildings join the Greek ruins, dotting the landscapes and streets. Concrete is the building material of choice and it is everywhere. Unfortunately, the Greek concrete workforce is not of good quality and often results in unpleasant problems. Greek construction is often done on an intermittent schedule, which lasts for several years. Houses are often left half-finished for months, or even years at a time. Another familiar site in Greece is the wire fence. It throws itself around anything and everything. Much of the fence falls into the broken, bent, or rusty category, making one wonder if the fences have any purpose.

Despite the nasty aspects of Greek garbage and construction, most people will agree that Greece has more wonders than warts, and traveling between the islands is the adventure of a lifetime. So grab your medical uniforms, nursing shoes, stethoscope, and travel gear and head to the beauty of the Greek islands.