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Stand Behind Us On International Nurses Day, Says NZNO

On the International Day of the Nurse (12 May) the New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) is asking the people of Aotearoa New Zealand to get behind nurses and all health workers in their struggle for fair pay and safe staffing.

NZNO Acting Professional Services Manager Kate Weston says today is an appropriate time to consider the enormous contribution nurses, midwives, health care assistants and kaimahi hauora have made over the last year to keep the rest of us safe - often at great cost to themselves.

"Nurses have worked extra hours under extremely stressful conditions. They’ve risked their own health and have often been cut off from their families and friends in the fight against COVID-19.

"And every day they’ve lived with the despair that comes from not having had the time to provide their patients with adequate levels of care because unsafe staffing is rife across all nursing sectors."

However, Ms Weston said that while recognition is important, nurses deserve much more than just applause. They need to be recognised with fair pay and a genuine commitment to safe staffing by the Government and their employers.

"The theme for the Day is ‘Nurses: a voice to lead - a vision for future health care’. But how can nurses lead when they are so undervalued? How can we celebrate when we are fearful about future health care? Nurses are leaving the profession, unable to live with the stress, the low pay and now what seems like Government ingratitude - and that will affect the future of health care for us all."

She said New Zealanders could support nurses by talking with their friends, signing petitions, writing to their MPs or the newspaper, and by getting behind any industrial action nurses might decide to take.

"But most of all, if you’re near a nurse, midwife, health care assistant or kaimahi hauora today, please let them know how much you appreciate them and that you support their ongoing struggle for fair pay and safe staffing."

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