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COVID-19 Nurse Specialist Welcomes Cabinet Ministers With Request For Nurses

Clinical nurse specialist for infection prevention and control, and Labour’s East Coast Bays electorate candidate - Monina Hernandez, congratulates Minister Chris Hipkins and Minister Andrew Little on their new Cabinet roles as Covid-19 Response Minister and Health Minister, respectively.

“With New Zealand’s CoViD-19 election comes a strong CoViD-19 Cabinet and I am really excited about how the newly appointed Ministers can lead us out of the pandemic. Our war against CoViD-19 is not over yet and I trust that our Ministers have the skill-set and proper work-attitude to deal with this complex health problem.”

Ms Hernandez was lecturer at Massey University and was flying Labour’s campaign flag when the Auckland region moved to CoViD-19 alert level 3 in August. An urgent need for senior nurses with specialist skills in infection control prompted clinical leaders to call Ms Hernandez to help in the isolation facilities.

“I was called in to help in the isolation facilities with such urgency due to the CoVID-19 cases in Auckland. There is a scarcity of nurse specialists with infection control skills in New Zealand and I am one of the few who possess infection control and outbreak management skills and experience. We were in the middle of the election campaign in August when I was asked to help. It felt like I was enlisted to fight a war, a war against CoViD-19 and as a nurse, it is my duty to ensure public safety. It is an honour and I am happy with my contribution to our country.”

“My campaign was affected in that I chose not to attend public activities unless I had had a recent negative result. A job requirement is regular CoViD-19 tests.”

Monina Hernandez

Ms Hernandez has one request for the new Ministers, “I urge our new Ministers to recognise nurses’ significant contribution in keeping New Zealand safe. We need to keep our nurses, and this recognition could be in the form of pay parity for primary health nurses, fair pay for aged care nurses and pay rise for all nurses in general. Nurses play a vital role in government’s response to the pandemic, proof that nurses are the backbone of the health care system. We have overworked nurses caring for our people nationwide. We have hundreds of nurses in managed isolation and quarantine facilities (MIQFs) putting their own health on the line to assess the health and wellbeing of returnees and to identify who has COVID-19 or not. Without their important contribution, we would not have gone so far in stamping out COVID-19.”

The New Zealand Government responded to the global COVID-19 pandemic with a range of measures to help control the spread of the virus into communities. This includes requiring all people entering New Zealand to stay in MIQFs for at least 14 days and complete a health assessment and return a negative COVID-19 test before they can go into the community.

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