Styliani Tziaferi RN, MSc, PhD, MEANS, National Secretary for ICOH
Assistant Professor in Community & Occupational Health Nursing
Dep. of Nursing, University of Peloponnese
President of Sector of Primary Health Care & Community Nursing
Greek Nurses Association
Anna Korompeli PhD
RN, MSc, PhD
Faculty of Nursing, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Notou 12, Ag. Paraskevi, 15342, Athens
Visit Our Website: www.esne.gr
HELLENIC NATIONAL NURSES ASSOCIATION
Occupational Health Nursing in Greece
Occupational Health and Safety in Greece is well established and although there are no clear guidelines for the qualifications –except for OH physicians and Safety officers- of the staff employed in occupational health services, there are around 100 nurses and health visitors (public health nurses) working in the field around the country, although contact with them is not easy at present.
It is compulsory by law that every employer offers occupational health and safety services. As of today the professions that are obligatory to be employed by large firms or to provide external OHS services are safety officers and an occupational doctors. Most large firms however employ also one or more OH nurse or health visitor (that is the equivalent of a public health nurse). As most workplaces in Greece are small and medium size enterprises it is difficult for them to employee also a nurse except for the case that are classified as of high risk. Nurses or health visitors are also employed by external occupational health and safety services licensed by the ministry of labour, although the numbers are still small. In addition nurses and health visitors are working in the occupational health and safety inspectorate (there are around 20 nurses and health visitors since 2000).
The roles of nurses vary but not greatly from place to place. In general OHNs’ duties include prevention, first aid and health promotion and education. In some firms it could also be safety checks, environmental control, etc.
There have been efforts of OHNs in the past to organize as a separate body, but this has not yet been accomplished. In the past OHNs were represented to FOHNEU board by interested individuals. Since 2002 the Hellenic NNA showed an interest in OHN and thus an OHNs’ group is currently under the auspices of the Primary Health Care/Community Nursing group of the NNA, from which the representatives to FOHNEU are drawn.
Regarding education, there are no specialist courses for nurses or health visitors. Occupational health is included in undergraduate curricula of nurses and health visitors, but differ in duration and content (see the education section of the website). OH is also taught at master’s. Several nurses already have been educated at master’s level, while a few have completed their PhD in an OH research topic. I addition, there are continuous education activities, mostly multidisciplinary, run by different organizations. Most of the relevant activities are organized by the Hellenic Institute of OHS ( www.elinyae.gr )