Private duty nurses in Greek hospitals: a literature review


  • Conflict of interest: The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

  • Sources of funding: No funding was received for this study.

Dr Dimitrios Papageorgiou, Nursing B' Department, Faculty of Health and Welfare, Technological Educational Institution (TEI) of Athens, Agiou Spiridonos st, Egaleo 12210, Greece; Tel: 0030210-5385616; Fax: 0030210-5385699; E-mail:


PAPAGEORGIOU D., FOUKA G., PLAKAS S., KELESI M., FASOI G. & VARDAKI Z. (2012) Private duty nurses in Greek hospitals: a literature review. International Nursing Review

Aim:  The study aims to provide an overview of the practice of private duty nurses in Greek hospitals.

Background:  For several decades, it has been a necessity for some hospital patients to hire private duty nurses (PDNs) to counterbalance the inadequacies of hospital infrastructures. In the current economic crisis in Greece, the majority of patients will not be able to afford to pay for private nursing care.

Methods:  Databases such as PubMed, CINAHL, ScienceDirect, Wiley Online Library, Google Scholar and national sources were searched for relevant literature through a range of keywords. Information gathered was evaluated for relevance and grouped on a thematic basis.

Findings:  Five articles met the inclusion criteria. Nearly 90% of PDNs have secondary levels of education or below. Approximately 15% of patients use PDNs at night due to nurse shortages and inability of their families to stay with them. Fifty per cent of the relatives reported being very unsatisfied with PDN services, while the cost for the use of a PDN is rather high.

Conclusion:  The existence of private duty nursing has been largely responsible for protecting healthcare authorities from the need to develop effective care infrastructures. In the current economic climate, nursing and healthcare authorities must staff wards appropriately for safe, free and efficient care for all patients. Effective utilization of the national nursing and healthcare workforce – including PDNs with appropriate qualifications – and matching demand with the necessary skills is essential.