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The organisational characteristics of the nursing practice environment play a crucial role in nurses’ job satisfaction, job retention, quality-of-care service provision and patient outcomes. The widely used Practice Environment Scale of the Nursing Work Index assesses the favourability of these traits, showing the grade of magnetism of these factors in the workplace.This study aims to assess the nurse working environment at five public hospitals in Greece, and to compare these data with those of Magnet and non-Magnet hospitals. The Practice Environment Scale of the Nursing Work Index was completed by 532 nurses.Findings have shown that all five hospitals were assessed by nurses as unfavourable working environments. Four of five subscales were identified as unfavourable by the participants and only Collegial Nurse-Physician Relations were evaluated as a positive organisational trait. The mean scores in all five subscales of favourability were significantly lower than the corresponding scores of non-Magnet hospitals in the US.The present study shows the favourability grade of Greek hospitals. When compared with Magnet and non-Magnet hospitals in the US, Greek hospitals were perceived as more unfavourable than non-Magnet hospitals. Action to improve the current situation must be taken by hospital management, supporting nurse involvement, continuous education, changing human resources management and adopting evaluation procedures.