Friday marks Nurse Appreciation Day which honours and recognises the invaluable contributions of nurses throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.
There are more than 65,500 nurses in Aotearoa including 4000 student nurses, but the country is still short of more than 4000 nurses.
New Zealand Nurses Organisation Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa (NZNO) Kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku says the overarching message remains: "We need more nurses".
Nuku said while traditionally the focus on celebrating the essential role nurses play in providing care and support to our communities falls on 12 May, given their contribution every day is Nurses Day.
Nurses ensure that patients receive the best possible care and support, and they play a crucial role in promoting health and well-being across Aotearoa New Zealand, she said.
"Almost all nurses go the extra mile to work extra hours if required to ensure their patients get the best possible care.
"At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, it was nurses at the forefront administering vaccines, treating patients and helping to save thousands of lives."
There is a wide range of nursing sectors in New Zealand including Primary Health Care, Aged Care, Hospice, Private, Māori and Iwi, Pasifika and Te Whatu Ora.
"In all of these sectors nurses cope with enormous workloads and pressure during their daily routines. They represent uncompromising professionalism and are the backbone of our health system," Nuku said.
She said Aotearoa is experiencing a nursing shortage crisis that affects everyone in the country. To solve the crisis the country needs 4000 more nurses trained and, on the job pay that values the nursing workforce right across the health sector and attracts more nurses and te Tiriti o Waitangi being upheld across our health services to remove inequities.
"We need nurses and as such, it is important to show our appreciation for the dedication and commitment of every nurse everywhere.
"The best thing we can do for our nurses is sign their petition on https://weneednurses.nz/ and encourage friends and whānau to do the same."