Success Story – Odysseas Botsis: The Life of a Greek Nurse in Sweden

By Errica Dima

He who dares, wins. With this phrase in mind, Odysseas Botsis made the decision in 2017 to move to Sweden immediately after completing his studies in Nursing, with the help of Nordoc AB, he is already realizing his dreams! At the age of 27, he works in the largest university hospitals in Sweden and will soon enter the world of innovation and start-ups as he already has an invention in the works!

Restless since his student years, he was searching for his next step. Conducting research, he found that the Scandinavian countries meet all the prerequisites for professional success combined with a very high quality of life. Sweden had everything he was looking for. It is ideal for someone who wants to continue their professional career, as innovation and entrepreneurship are among the most important factors for the development of an economy, creating more and higher-paying job positions.

The next step for Odysseas was to start learning Swedish, and in his fourth year of Nursing studies, Nordoc AB became the link between Greece and Sweden. “It was a matter of trust,” he says about his collaboration with Nordoc AB, adding: “You trust someone who knows well what the professional conditions are like in Greece. Nordoc AB helped me by connecting me with Karolinska Hospital, with which I later signed a cooperation agreement.”

He even encourages those who have second thoughts about moving to Sweden to trust Nordoc AB to become the first step in the professional career they have dreamed of.

The Big Decision

During his studies, Odysseas, who grew up in central Athens and specifically in Exarchia, found that Scandinavia has very good indicators of human development and public health. Conditions every young person seeks. Doing his internship for six months, he decided that the working conditions prevailing in Greek hospitals did not represent him. So he decided to move to Sweden after completing his studies in Greece. He started working at Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm and at the same time did a postgraduate degree in nursing anesthesia, as well as pharmacology courses at Karolinska University and Uppsala University.

What opportunities does Sweden offer to a nurse? “There is respect and trust between doctors and nurses. In Greece, according to what I experienced during my six-month internship and what I heard from colleagues, a nurse does not take enough initiatives on his own and has a more passive role,” says Odysseas. “The nurse is supportive in Greece. In contrast, in Sweden, being only 1.5 years in the hospital, a supervisor asked me if I thought a particular patient could manage alone at home or not in order to be discharged. I gave my opinion. This shows trust and respect for your colleague. It makes you feel like a member of the team,” he adds.

As an anesthesia nurse, he has great responsibility, but the fact that everyone sees him as an equal both in terms of work and responsibility gives him the impetus to become better and better. “In Sweden, you see responsiveness to the studies you have done. The nurse has a nice role in Sweden; it is a respectable profession,” comments Odysseas.

Work Environment

“The work environment is very good, as well as the salary. From the employers’ side, everyone is very supportive. For example, regarding vacations. At the moment, I have 25 paid leave days. When you work overtime for 8 hours, you get paid 1.5 times your hourly wage, and they give you 16 hours that you can take as two additional days off or if you don’t want leave, you get paid for them. A shift is paid 3.5 times,” he points out about the work environment. Regarding the patients he cares for at Karolinska in a surgical clinic, “with a colleague, I have 4-5 maximum patients. In Sweden, patient care has a different form.”

“It is also important that you have flexibility and can plan your life, your travels,” he adds.

Excellent Quality of Life

One of the main reasons that led Odysseas to decide to turn a new page in his life and move to Sweden is the excellent quality of life in the Scandinavian country. “Working in Sweden allows you to have time to combine work and personal life. Sweden provides you with resources to have a quality life,” comments 27-year-old Odysseas. In this context, the hospital gives employees 250 euros per year to cover expenses for participating in physical activities. Whatever they wish. “They respect the employee and give them the opportunity to do things that please them,” he adds.

What would he advise someone who wants to move to Sweden? “Not to compare Greece with Sweden,” he points out and adds: “It doesn’t make sense to compare, for example, the weather between the two countries. If you go to another country for a new start, you shouldn’t start like that. You won’t have a good time. Be determined and think that if you leave Sweden you will go somewhere (e.g. Greece) that is not so good work-wise.” People may be more closed compared to Greeks, but this has to do with the culture of the country. “People are more closed compared to Greeks, but they are not negative, they just have a different culture. I have made several friends both in Stockholm and in other cities of the country.”

Start up

Sweden is famous for its innovative ideas as well as its support for new inventions. Odysseas Botsis is a shining example that when you want something very much and try, you can achieve it. “I have an idea for a product in the field of anesthesia. As an anesthesia team, we handle patients’ breathing. I have found a way to make airway management safer,” he says about his invention.

As he emphasizes, “I am at a stage where I am talking to a team of engineers to build a prototype and progress the idea. I’m not relaxing, I’m constantly searching. In Sweden, conditions help you. In Greece, this process might have been more economical, however, in Sweden, I have financial assistance as well as assistance in terms of accessibility to knowledge. Generally, they help those who have an idea to develop it, to take it further. They give you the resources you need.”

Recently, Odysseas’s invention was hosted at “Innovative Ideas in Uppsala.”

As for his goals for the future? “For the immediate future, I want my work to go well and for the invention to progress to the next stage and be completed. From the new year, I want to stay with my girlfriend, who is from Sweden, and from 2024 to buy a house near Stockholm.”

We wish him all the best in his endeavors!

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