"Every shift we work understaffed is leaving our patients vulnerable.
"If we're willing to put up with it then we're saying leaving our patients vulnerable is okay."
That's the reason one Tauranga nurse Rebekah Opie decided to take strike action next month, and is just one of the list of concerns she has.
Tens of thousands of nurses across the country are set to walk off the job for eight hours on June 9, following a breakdown in pay negotiations between the nurses' union and district health boards.
Opie, a registered nurse said there were more issues at stake than just wanting to be paid more.
"Strike action is us trying to say, 'this is what is happening all the time in our hospitals'- the care that should be there is not."
Opie has been nursing for 24 years, following in her mother's footsteps.
"It is an incredibly rewarding job and in other times it's really, really stressful."
A rise in population and nursing being seen as a less attractive career option than it had been in the past had resulted in an understaffed workforce, she said.
"Nurses, midwives, healthcare assistants are used to hard work. That is our job and we thrive under it, really, but it's the pushing of that all the time, sometimes beyond what we can manage.
"The consistency of that high pressure at some point has to give."
Because staff were working under pressure it was resulting in a high number of nurses burning out, she said.
"You've got staff who come to work subpar because they have either run out of sick leave, or they don't feel they can leave their colleagues because we know when we ring in sick there is a potential we won't be replaced."
The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) issued the strike notices to the country's district health boards after its 30,000 DHB members voted "overwhelmingly" in favour of an eight-hour strike on June 9.
Lead advocate and NZNO industrial adviser David Wait said the decision to strike came after a frustrating offer from the DHBs last month.
"That would have given most members little more than 1.38 per cent, just under the rate of inflation. This is despite the incredible sacrifices they made in 2020 to keep the country safe from Covid-19."
However, he said members were absolutely furious at the Government's wage restraint announcement which Wait believed effectively froze wages for three years when most had already progressed to the last step of their pay scale.
"This will turn what is already a serious staffing crisis into a disaster for the health system and the levels of care available for ourselves and our loved ones."
Those working in managed isolation and quarantine will not participate in the strike but those working to roll out the vaccine will.
Wait said despite the ample notice, the NZNO would respond in good faith to DHB requests for members to assist by providing "life-preserving" services in the interests of patient safety.
DHBs have made contingency plans in place to ensure the safety of patients if the strike does go ahead.
DHB spokeswoman Dale Oliff believed the offer is fair and reasonable.
No further comment would be made at this time.