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Arch Hellen Med, 34(2), March-April 2017, 191-206


Expansion of the professional role of nurses in Greece

I. Lourantaki,1 K. Katsaliaki2
1General Hospital of Chalkidiki, Poligiros,
2School of Economics, Business Administration and Legal Studies, International Hellenic University, Greek Open University, Thessaloniki, Greece

As the field of health and social care is rapidly changing, health policymakers in many countries are seeking ways of increasing efficiency in the provision of health services through the expansion of the professional role of nurses. In Greece, efforts to introduce expanded nursing roles have been ineffectual because basic requirements are missing, such as professional support from the nursing and medical staff, appropriate training and sufficient numbers of nurses with a university education. Important elements in favor of expansion of the nursing role, however, include pressure to reduce health care costs, changing health needs of patients, increasing demand for health services, a lack of certain health services, unmet health needs and changes in the labor market. Arguments against expansion include the current lack of nurses and a strong imbalance between doctors and nurses, the present regulatory health framework and the hierarchical structure in the units of the Greek health sector. The issue of expansion of the professional role of nurses should be reviewed once more. The new efforts should be based on an appropriately designed plan for the implementation of the new roles, with provision of relevant training for the nursing staff, infrastructure reform and professional support. In addition the institution of new nursing duties and responsibilities will be required. The expansion of the professional role of nurses should start from the primary health care services, which is the sector most in need of strengthening. In secondary care the establishment of a nurse consultant position is suggested, to support the health professionals and concentrate on improving working conditions. In the future the incorporation of the nurse prescriber specialty is also recommended.

Key words: Expansion, Greece, Implementation, Nurses, Professional role, Tasks.

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