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One nurse for every 40 patients

September 10, 2005 -- Today Kathimerini, "Greece's International English Language Newspaper," posted a short item on its web site by Thansasis Ouzounisiana about a protest by a Greek nurses' union over short-staffing. The piece carries a photo of nurses from the Panhellenic Union of Nursing Staff during a "sit-in protest at a 24-hour strike" held in connection with the nation's largest trade fair in the city of Thessaloniki.

Kathimerini is apparently included inside editions of the International Herald-Tribune in Greece and Cyprus. The trade fair at Thessaloniki has reportedly been the scene of large protests against the national government's economic policies, which unions argue exploit workers. According to this piece, the nurses' union wants the government to hire more nurses at state hospitals, "arguing that only 30,000 are employed in the country," which "translates into only one nurse for every 40 patients." We are not aware of any hospital inpatient setting where that would be a safe nurse:patient ratio. The photo accompanying the piece shows a number of nurses, some in uniform and some in street clothes, sitting and holding large white crosses.

The piece might have mentioned why the nurses feel it's important to hire more nurses--e.g., they're needed to save lives and keep the existing nurses from burning out. Nevertheless, we thank Kathimerini for covering this important issue.

See the article "The Panhellenic Union of Nursing Staff stages a sit-in protest..." in the September 10, 2005 edition of Kathimerini.