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Travel Nursing Series: Travel Nursing in Greece

Why do people travel? Perhaps the simple wanderlust prompts people to see new places and have new experiences or the need to get away from daily stresses or pressures at home or work. Some may want to make a religious pilgrimage to a holy place or they may be drawn to a new career. Whatever the reason, traveling allows you to make a connection in another country, meet different people, and experience different cultures.

One of the easiest careers to “take on” 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. Obtaining certification 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 significant demand. To find and apply for a nurse position in Greece, it is best to use a professional agency to help you with the procedure. Travel nursing 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 you with the necessary visas and certifications. The agencies are the intermediary between the employer and the nurse, negotiating a contract that benefits 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 scrubs instead of traditional nursing scrubs. Buying scrubs in Greece can be difficult, but there are websites online that offer a great selection of scrubs at discounted prices available for your scrubs needs.

The Greek national health system provides a 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 facilities in the US These hospitals are an excellent resource for American nurses seeking overseas positions in Greece. The physicians on the staff of these private hospitals have been trained in the US or another institution of international education. In public medical clinics, especially on the Greek islands, very little English is often spoken. Many visitors from Greece, and Greek citizens, move from the island’s care units to the hospitals of the Athens hospitals for more modern and professional care.

Medical facilities in Greece vary from barely adequate to very good. Public hospitals are understaffed, especially during the night shift in non-emergency rooms. Nursing jobs at these facilities are a very demanding job. Nursing and aftercare standards, particularly in the public health sector, lag behind what is normally acceptable in the U.S. To ensure adequate care, patients who can afford it hire private nurses to help them. cared for during your hospital stay. For those with good insurance coverage, private hospitals are available with modern facilities and excellent care. Travel nurses usually get jobs in a private hospital or as private nurses in the public hospital. Knowledge of Greek is, of course, helpful. Doctors and facilities are generally good on the mainland, but can be limited on the islands. English can be managed, but it will take time to translate for 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 with fully flexible hours. The laid-back attitude of the Greeks towards time is similar to that of the Brazilians, rarely doing today what can be postponed until tomorrow. It takes some effort on the part of the travel nurse to lower time-based expectations. The Greek word “philoxenia” means “love for strangers”, so the traveling nurse will be welcomed into Greek life with great exuberance. There are many religious holidays 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 naps to work until 8 pm. Dinner time rarely starts before 10:00 PM and often lasts well past midnight. Travel nurses will need to adjust their internal meal clock in order to join the social scene in Greece.

Strikes and demonstrations happen regularly in Greece and are disruptive, especially if you are heading to work. These events are usually ordered, but if necessary tear gas will be used for riot control. Local news sources keep locals up to date on the news of the demonstrations. Wallet thieves and pickpockets operate in tourist spots and on 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 operate between 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. Greek temporary residents must carry their valid driving license from their country of origin, 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 rough roads pose dangers, especially at night or in bad weather conditions. Many roads are often poorly maintained and often full of potholes.

Greece has a list of “must see” sites that is unparalleled. First and foremost is the Acropolis of Athens. Situated on rocky terrain high above the city streets, the Acropolis represents classical Greek culture at its zenith. A visit to Olympia, the site of the original Olympics, and the ruins of Epidaurus, where the ancient theater is still used for festivals, are must-see sites 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 plenty of time to get to know this wonderful country and its friendly people.

One of the first things you will notice while traveling in Greece is the wide variety of garbage strewn almost everywhere. The slopes are awash with discarded appliances and cans. bottles, boxes, ropes, and other debris, leaving the traveler wondering why the locals don’t appreciate the stunning scenery more. The beaches and the sea are not exempt. Plastic bags, bottles, and cans float regularly.

Half-finished buildings join Greek ruins, dotting the landscapes and streets. Concrete is the preferred building material and is everywhere. Unfortunately, Greek concrete workmanship is not of good quality and often results in unsightly masses. Greek construction is often done on an intermittent schedule, spanning several years. Houses are often left half finished for months or even years. Another familiar site in Greece is the chain link fence. It throws itself around anything and everything. Much of the fences fall into the category of broken, bent, or rusted, which makes one wonder if fences are of any use.

Despite the unsightly 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 scrubs, nursing shoes, stethoscope, and travel gear and head to the beauty of the Greek islands.

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