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Nurses celebrate international nurses day

12 May 2006

Nurses celebrate international nurses day

The hard work and dedication of New Zealand's 38,000* nurses is being honored today with International Nurses Day 2006.

International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world every May 12 on the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth. This years' theme is, Safe Staffing Saves Lives.

"Nurses are a vitally important part of New Zealand's healthcare system and it's great that we are able to set aside a day to thank all nurses for the wonderful contribution they make" says Deputy Director General Dr Colin Feek.

Kerry-Ann Adlam, the Ministry of Health's Acting Chief Nursing Advisor says, "Nursing is an extremely diverse field, perhaps more so than most people realize. From large city hospitals to community and rural based settings, work in the armed forces and new roles such as nurse practitioners....the list goes on. This is a mobile profession with lots of opportunities and rewards."

The theme of this years' celebrations is very relevant to a major initiative currently underway in New Zealand. In 2005 the District Health Boards (DHBs) and the New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) established the first ever joint committee to examine safe staffing and healthy workplace issues facing the sector and to identify options for improvement.

Dr Feek says, "While we acknowledge there is still some work to do we are proud of the progress that has been made over the last few years, such as the substantial pay increases for DHB nurses, the establishment of Multi Employer Collective Agreements (MECA) and the Primary Health Care Scholarships which enable registered nurses working in primary health care to undertake postgraduate study." The work of the joint committee is drawing to a conclusion and the Ministry of Health looks forward to working with the DHBs and NZNO.

*New Zealand Health Workforce Statistics 2004 http://www.nzhis.govt.nz/stats/nursestats.html

ENDS

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