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Travel Nursing Series: Travel Nursing in Greece

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Why do people travel? Maybe the peace of mind awakens the people who urge people to see new places and new experiences or the need to get away from the daily stresses or pressures at home or at work. Some may want to make a religious pilgrimage to a holy place, or a new career may be powerless. Whatever the reason, travel allows you to connect to another country, meet different people and experience different cultures.
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One of the easiest careers to do “the way” is to work for a healthcare professional. Doctors and nurses are in demand in all countries of the world and it is easy to find a job abroad. Nursing skills are universal and nurses in the United States are the most advanced. It is relatively easy to get a certification to work abroad in a foreign country.
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Typically, a placement agency can help the American nurse through the process. Salary and benefits are in line with standard travel nursing guidelines. Subsidized housing, signing bonuses, paid leave and health insurance are offered, depending on the particular workplace. You will need to pack your nursing uniforms and nursing shoes as these occupants are not provided by the employer.
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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 nurse agencies help guide nurses to find the right job in Greece.
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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. Agencies are the intermediary between an employer and a nurse, negotiating a beneficial contract for both parties.
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They will provide employment data such as hours of work, extra standards and nursing uniform requirements. Many international hospitals have adopted the American trend of wearing uniform scrubs instead of traditional nursing uniforms. Buying medical uniforms in Greece can be tricky, but online websites offering a large selection of discounted scrubs are available for your uniform needs.
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The Greek national health system provides basic medical care to Greek nationals and has 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 affiliation with U.S. facilities. These hospitals are an excellent resource for American nurses looking for places abroad in Greece. Physicians at staff at these private hospitals have received training in the U.S. or another international educational institution. In public medical clinics, especially in the Greek islands, very little English is often spoken. Many visitors to Greece, and Greek citizens, are moving from island care units to hospitals in Athens’ hospitals for more modern and professional care.
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Medical facilities in Greece range from barely adequate to very good. Public hospitals are very low, especially during the night shift in non-emergent outbuildings. Nursing work at these facilities is a very demanding job. Standards of nursing and care, especially in the public health sector, lag behind what is generally acceptable in the United States. To ensure proper care, patients who can afford it are hired by private nurses during their hospital stay. For those with good insurance coverage, there are private hospitals with modern facilities and excellent care. Travel nurses usually hire jobs at a private hospital or as a private nurse at a public hospital. Knowledge of Greek is, of course, useful. Doctors and facilities are generally good on the mainland, but can be confined to the islands. It is possible to do this in English, but it will take time to translate patients. In public medical clinics, especially in the Greek islands, very little English is often spoken.

Life in the Greek Islands is quite different from that in the United States. The Greeks enjoy life today with completely flexible schedules. The relaxed attitude of the Greeks over time is similar to that of the Brazilians, rarely today that can be compensated until tomorrow. It takes a small effort on the part of the traveling nurse to reduce expectations based on time. The Greek word “phylloxenia” means “love of the unknown”, so the traveling nurse will be welcomed into the Greek life in great exuberance. There are many religious holidays and family celebrations.

The day begins in Greece before the heat of the day. Afternoon afternoons are 2pm to 5pm. Many workers return to their jobs after noon until 8 p.m. Dinner time rarely starts before 10pm and often lasts well past midnight. Travel nurses will need to adjust their internal meal clock to join the social landscape in Greece.

Strikes and demonstrations occur regularly in Greece and are disruptive, especially if you are on the road to work. These occurrences are usually ordered, but tear gas will be used if necessary for disturbance control. Local news sources keep locals informed of rally news. Carriers of bags and pick-up pockets operate at tourist sites and by public transport, as in any public area.

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

Traveling by car to Greece can be an adventure in itself. Greek temporary residents must bring their valid driver’s license from their country of origin as well as an International Driving License (IDP). Drivers who do not carry an ID may be penalized for not having one in the event of an accident, and may also be open to a civil suit. Heavy traffic and poor roads are in danger, especially at night or in inclement weather. Many roads are often poorly serviced and frequent.

Greece has a list of “must see” sites that is unmatched. First and foremost is the Acropolis of Athens. Located on a rocky ground just 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 by festivals, is a must see for tourists. A popular tourist destination in Crete is the Minoan Knossos Palace and an opportunity to experience Macedonian culture and to see the tomb of Philip II of Macedon attracts people to explore Vergina. The opportunities to explore ancient Greek culture are endless 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’ll notice while traveling to Greece is the wide range of junk dumped almost everywhere. The mountains are stunning with discarded appliances and cans. bottles, boxes, rope and other potatoes, leaving the traveler wondering why the breathtaking scenery is no longer appreciated by the locals. The beaches and the sea are not exempt. Plastic bags, bottles and cans float regularly.

Half-finished buildings join the Greek ruins, dotting the landscapes and streets. Concrete is the building material of choice and is everywhere. Unfortunately, Greek concrete workmanship is not of good quality and often results in unsightly disorder. Greek construction is often done on an intermittent schedule, dragging on for several years. Homes usually stay half-finished for months, or even years at a time. Another familiar place in Greece is the chain link fence. It tosses around anything and everything. Too much fencing falls into the category of broken, bent or rusty, which begs the question whether fences serve any purpose.

Despite the unsightly aspects of Greek rubbish and construction, most people will agree that Greece has more wonders than warts, and that traveling between the islands is a lifelong adventure. Grab your uniform scrubs, baby shoes, stethoscope and travel gear and head for the beauty of the Greek Islands.

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